Meet the Buick Achievers honored during UNCF ‘An Evening of Stars’ weekend

General Motors Foundation president Vivian Prickard, 2nd from left, with the 2014 Buick Achievers during the UNCF annual "Evening with the Stars" awards weekend
General Motors Foundation president Vivian Prickard, second from left, with the 2014 Buick Achievers Scholarship winners during the UNCF annual “Evening with the Stars” awards weekend

Millions will be dazzled by the constellation of stars who converged in Atlanta for the annual United Negro College Fund “Evening with the Stars.” Many will be enthralled by the performances from the likes of Jill Scott and the Isley Brothers and most will have their livers quiver from the comedic exploits provided by host Anthony Anderson and Cedric the Entertainer.

But General Motors joins the UNCF with the sole purpose of providing money and resources for college students. Since the inception of the Buick Achievers Scholarship program in 2011, more than 3,300 students have received $16.5 million in order to help manifest their dreams of matriculating through colleges and universities in the United States.

Nearly one-third of the recipients are African American and Hispanic students while, remarkably, 1,600 are first-generation college students.

Meet three of the 2014 Buick Achievers below and read about their fascinating stories and testimonials.

Nartezya (Nar-teez-ya) Dykes (far left in photo above)

—Age: 22.

—Grade: Senior.

—University: Spelman College.

—Major: Computer Science (math minor).

—First Generation College Student: Yes.

Programming Team, Association for Computing Machinery Meets regularly to learn, discuss and practice programming techniques. They compete annually in the ACM’s sponsored Southeast Regional Programming competition.

Technical Assistant, Black Girls Code

Organization dedicated to increasing the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Evaluation Associate, STARS Leadership Corps

Community dedicated to broadening computer science participation

Personal testimonial: I’ve always wanted to go to Spelman College because it’s a small and nurturing place, where African American women can get more than just an education. It’s a place where young black females can be more than just what the media thinks they are. I have a tendency to beat up on myself, and for the first few years of college I heard about Buick Achievers but never applied because I didn’t think I could get it. I finally decided to go for it at the end of my junior year.  At that time, I was working three jobs and taking out students loans and my sister was about to be a freshman in college too. I was so thankful when I got this scholarship — it means I can help my sister instead of taking out loans for myself. My mom is a single parent who had me when she was 15 and I’m the first person in my family to go to college, so this scholarship has really opened so many doors.”

Buick Achievers Essay: My consistent involvement in community service activities always creates an atmosphere to positively impact the youth. I believe it is important to get children excited about learning and provide mentoring to them at an early age. For this reason, I participated in Friendship Baptist Church Tutorial Program which allowed me to tutor two to three youth weekly and help them grasp fundamental concepts of reading and arithmetic to improve their standardized test scores and reach the desired benchmark of learning. I also became a tutor for high school students at the Frederick Douglass Tutorial Program to assist students with their homework as well as prepare for national tests that are required to enter most colleges. More recently, I served as a technical assistant to the technical leads for the Black Girls Code Organization. Furthermore, through working with public safety I have been able to promote the importance of being safe in the community, online, and at school.

Buick Achievers goal: My educational plans are to obtain my bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in mathematics. Additionally, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in Information Technology. I do not limit my career path to a certain job given the edge of obtaining a computing degree and the pace that technology is growing. My desire, however, is to be at the center of innovation. This is especially important in the automotive industry as hybrid cars are becoming very popular and the amount of technology in cars is increasing. The automotive industry has many opportunities for innovation and opportunities to gain the competitive edge with technology. A few interests I have are working to make the assembly line more efficient and faster with the use of robotics, supporting new technologies inside of the car, and discovering ways to simply make the automobile “smarter.”


Ty’Quish Keyes (far right in photo above)

—Age: 21.

—Grade: Junior.

—University: Morehouse College.

—Major: Applied Physics/Chemical Engineering.

First Generation College Student: No.

President, National Society of Collegiate Scholars (Morehouse College Chapter)

Helps promote academic excellence via study sessions and mentoring high school students

Vice President, Applied Engineering And Response Organization (Morehouse College Chapter)

Focuses on the practical development of engineers and how they can develop their skills with regards to helping the community.

Vice President, Society of Physics Students (Morehouse College Chapter)

Professional association dedicated to supporting physics students in their journey to becoming professionals, through research and mentoring.

Planned Internship with GE (Summer 2014)

Personal Testimonial: “The Buick Achievers Scholarship really made it possible for me to attend Morehouse. My mom applied for loans for my college education but was denied, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. This scholarship means I do not have to worry about working multiple jobs through college to pay for school and allows me to do all the extracurricular activities that I do. I’ve always had health issues and I had wanted to be a doctor at first. What I’ve found is that I can bridge the gap between medicine and the problem solving of physics.”

Oneisha Hall (second from right in photo above)

—Age: 21.

—Grade: Junior.

—University: Tuskegee University.

—Major: Business Administration.

Event Committee Head and Vice President of Human Resources, Pi Sigma Epsilon, Epsilon Chi Chapter

Responsible for delegating tasks to the committee members to ensure that paperwork is filed effectively and efficiently according to the university’s policies in regard to all events requested, organizing the resources in order to hold the events, directly responsible for all chapter membership activities within recruitment and retention.

Member, NAACP, National Pre-Alumni Council, Ohio Club, Mississippi Club, SGA – Community Service Committee

Personal testimonial: Being a recipient of the National Buick Achievers’ scholarship award has had a tremendous impact on my collegiate experience. Matriculating through college would have been a grave hardship and very stressful if it had not been for the blessing I’ve received through this award. Graduating ranking number five as an honor roll student, founder of a sisterhood service organization, and a participant of many extra-curricular activities did not exactly qualify for a “full ride.” I am happy to have had my hard work, need and joy of education noticed and attended to by the brilliant people who organize and contribute to funding the National Buick Achievers’ scholarship. With this, I was able to move away from home, attend Tuskegee University, and begin, making my own mark on the world all due to the dollars that fund my educational journey and promote my present and future successes. With college graduation in my near future, I can breathe easier knowing that I had such helping hands along the way. Thank you!”

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