The project update highlights a highly-successful course at Bowie State University in Fall 2022. The course included multiple Interledger Community Members serving as experts and workshop leaders, including @micopeia, @carolyn_malachi, @karlitosn, @kokayi, and @briana, offering messages of engagement, inclusivity, and support for HBCU students. In addition, course materials with supporting assignments and projects introduced students to Interledger through open web payments, web monetization, micropayments and tipping, cross-border payments, web3 (web 3.0), and interoperability.
Since March 2022, BSU (andrewmangle) with @julaireh and @chrislarry, focused the course on introducing and supporting HBCU students for immersion into the Interledger community. All students used Coil to tip content providers and explore Coil-enabled projects using the Uphold wallet. As part of the grant, ILF funded students and faculty to travel and attend the #summit (https://interledger.org/summit/) in November 2022.
In my 20+ years in academia as a student and faculty member, this grant offered THE BEST experience for students - materials, community support, and funded student travel. Out of the nine students who attended, I want to highlight a few achievements resulting directly from this grant:
- Based on the student's global digital payments knowledge, an undergraduate student is starting at Northrup Grumman in January 2023.
- An undergraduate student is starting an IT Auditing Position based on their knowledge of open payments architecture and eCommerce
- A graduate student and Dr. Andrew Mangle published a preliminary analysis on the Interledger Protocol and Web3.
- An undergraduate student is actively exploring and engaged with the Interledger Community (and a student who did not attend is also participating)
- An undergraduate student actively explores opportunities in a niche combination of Human Resources and micro-payments through the Interledger Community.
These are just a few of the students who benefited from this grant. We look forward to the long-term benefits of engaged HBCU students.
The project may have concluded, and there is HUGE momentum for expansion, such as a special topics course in Spring 2023 focused on supporting students to contribute to the Interledger Protocol.
The grant achieved the primary objective of improving awareness of financial access and discrepancies in opportunities. Specific topics included equity and inclusion for financial markets and highlighted the need for HBCU graduates to participate and lead in digital finance. Through the speakers, course materials, and summit attendance, the course helped build confidence that the students can have the capability to ease these challenges, and their contribution is a necessary component of more equitable commerce through financial inclusion. The course provided resources and a pathway for Bowie State University students that access unclear and murky markets.
- The course impacted eighteen undergraduate and one graduate student.
- Seven guest speakers - Five Interledger Community Members included the Executive Director, BSU's Assistant Director for Media Relations and Marketing, and BSU's Student Experience Coordinator.
- One poster and proceedings contribution collaboration at the National Association of Business, Economics, and Technology (nabet.us) conference in October 2022
- Five student posters at the Interledger Summit 2022
- One workshop and panel at the Interledger Summit 2022
- One complete course in Fall 2023 and one additional planned for Spring 2023
The HBCU grant was just the start. The goal is to gather more HBCUs to participate and share the materials from this course with others looking to replicate the success. The course artifacts are a foundation - pre/post assessment, challenges, tutorials, and pathways to Interledger participation. The project has just started with a successful proof of concept. Growth through networking, inclusion, and expansion is next.
The path is clear 1) Connect with more HBCUs for interested faculty and students using BSU as an exemplar 2) Form alliances with organizations with similar goals in digital literacy, open web payments, and global equity & inclusivity 3) Empower young adults to contribute to Interledger and related open-source projects 4) Seek funding with the Interledger Foundation for long-term sustainability and viability.
The project needs 1) mentors and 2) strategic partners. Mentors are required for students and others new to the community who would benefit from a guide to ease the introduction and offer a supportive and encouraging message that emphasizes that HBCU students are needed now and have all the skills necessary to participate and contribute NOW. Strategic partners are essential to support the project, share successes, and expansion. In particular, documented letters of support are necessary for partnering with multi-year and multi-million dollar federally funded efforts.
As Executive Director, Briana intentionally included HBCUs as part of the Interledger Foundation's innovative and progressive approach to community development and future-building. ILF and Dr. Andrew Mangle. took a leap of faith together through a shared vision and collaboration. The team worked together to explore, learn, and refine over several months. Weekly meetings provided touch points, resource sharing, and perspective on how to engage and impact students. The summary report scratches the surface of the students and faculty's persistence and perseverance.
We want to share our success and resources. If you think someone - students, faculty, or HBCU would benefit from this project, please connect with me here or on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-mangle. We will gladly share our resources :)
Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, cybersecurity, teacher education, business and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit bowiestate.edu.