Capital Formation

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

After switching her major to Computer Science, Mariah Cowling found herself at the 2nd annual HBCU@SXSW program during March 2017. Now she is an engineer at Microsoft.

Meet Mariah

Mariah has always been someone who sees opportunity and takes action. As a kid, Mariah promised her father she would attend Spelman College, with goals of becoming an Aerospace Engineer.

However, there was only one major problem.

The historically black women's liberal arts college engineering program was not on campus. So, she became a computer science major. As a computer science student at an HBCU, Mariah quickly realized that viable career opportunities are hard to come by and that her school is often overlooked.

Realizing this, Mariah began to search, participate and activate for opportunities, programs and initiatives that provide value for students like her.

So, after hearing about HBCU@SXSW and what it offers, going through the application process seemed like a no-brainer.


HBCU@SXSW, as captured in this USAToday article, is an early exposure initiative of Opportunity Hub.

Each year, major corporations, tech companies, startups, ecosystem builders, influencers and foundations sponsor HBCU@SXSW so that top African American and Latinx technology and business talent from our nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI’s), Tribal Colleges and Predominantly White Institutions (PWI’s).

With intentional diversity initiatives, these schools can gain the necessary immersive exposure, interactive learning opportunities and direct access to paid summer internships or permanent jobs in the innovation economy that are afforded by attending SXSW .


HBCU@SXSW is apart of South by Southwest (SXSW), the most significant interactive technology conference and festival on the planet.

“Between learning more about the Internet of Things, AI, and onsite genetic sequencing, I had the opportunity to network with many leading companies in technology including Google, Snapchat, Microsoft, Twitter, and countless others.”

In 2015, more than 84,385 attendees experienced terrific keynotes, hundreds of panels and exclusive networking opportunities that provide buzz-generating exposure and opportunities to engage with decision-makers in the innovation economy. In 2016, we sponsored 50 college students to go to SXSW.

In 2017, 100 students from 41 colleges and universities attended. Ninety (90%) of the students that participated in in 2017 were placed in paid summer internships or permanent jobs.

Mariah's Testimony

“I was truly honored to be one of 100 HBCU students, who are our brilliant future leaders in tech, to be selected for this life-changing occasion.”

Mariah speaks about her experience and the opportunities provided by HBCU@SXSW17 that would eventually guide her to a virtual reality engineer position at Microsoft. Click here to view her and other student's testimonials.

“From this experience and the exposure to numerous entrepreneurs, I am more invigorated than ever to continue and amplify my pursuits towards innovation.”

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From Spelman to Microsoft

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Launching An Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Anywhere


Early Exposure

Education & Training

Ecosystem Building

Capital Formation

Opportunity Hub is authentically invested in creating inclusive innovation economics - our founder escaped income inequality via higher education and technology entrepreneurship.