Ford’s mission to build a better world where every person is free to move and pursue their
dreams. Supporting HBCUs and driving towards not only attracting but retaining talent from these institutions are a part of their efforts to contribute towards strengthening communities.
  
We had the chance to speak with the Cyber Defense Analyst at Ford and Hampton University graduate, Telisha Everett, sharing her experience at an HBCU and how it has impacted her in the long run.
  
Q:                Why an HBCU, and specifically Hampton, vs other institutions?
Telisha:        Growing up watching BET College tours, I thought “oh, you could go away from
home to go to college”. I knew I wanted to do something like that. I went to go
visit Hampton and it seemed like home and welcomed me. That’s how my high
school was as well so I was looking for that aspect when I went off to college.
The classes were smaller, so I figured the professors are going to know my name
which I really wanted. I didn’t want to be in a class with 200-something different
people. Also, Hampton has a very good reputation, a lot of people were proud to
come out of Hampton.

Q:                So, do you recommend HBCUs for upcoming students and why?
Telisha:        Yes, I definitely do. I encourage everyone to go to an HBCU, it was some of the
best years of my life. I’ve even met people after I graduated that stated they
wished they went to a HBCU. There are different opportunities that are afforded
to you, the people that you will meet in your life – you just truly meet your
family there.

 
Q:                So, how did your career lead you to working at Ford?
Telisha:        In the Computer Science department at Hampton University, throughout the
school year, we have something called info sessions where companies will come
in and recruit for interns and full-time hires. I applied and went through the
process, I interned with Ford summer 2018 and I graduated in December of
2018.

By the time my internship ended, I had a full-time offer. It was such a great
cultural experience as well. At Ford, they really invest in your career and placing
you where you fit best. If you want to try anything new, like switching within
your department, it’s encouraged, and you don’t have to stay stagnate in one
position.
 

Q: So, what advice would you give to women in the cybersecurity space, especially
women of color, who are working to excel and break the mold themselves?
Telisha: We are in the space. Me personally, I love being the only person in the room to
show people that I’m here. I like proving people wrong. I like showing people
how smart I am and it’s just another barrier that has to be broken. Especially
being a double minority. Someone may be looking up to you. So, I would say
keep going and looking towards the big picture.