ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2024) – Elizabeth City State University has been selected to host the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) first virtual NexTech Innovation Challenge Feb. 22-24.

The NexTech Innovation Challenge is a product of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) division of TMCF and provides students an opportunity to learn more about pitching in the digital realm, design thinking, and Metaverse training.
The program aims to offer 25 innovators from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominately Black institutions (PBIs) all over the country an immersive and cutting-edge experience within the virtual realm.

The challenge will be conducted entirely "in-world," utilizing state-of-the-art virtual reality technology to simulate a collaborative, real-world work environment. This approach will catalyze innovation, skills development, and meaningful industry connections. This falls directly in line with one of I&E’s missions to close the technology divide among HBCU students.

The event begins with a faculty panel discussion centered around emerging technologies that will feature ECSU faculty Tarsha Rogers and Roberto Frontera-Suau, and moderated by Tamaria K. Perry, TMCF’s vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Students from various campuses have been selected to participate and will be prompted to develop a project pitch centered on emerging technologies that will be judged on Feb. 24.  While the full challenge takes place in the Metaverse, there will be an in-person audience.

“We are grateful that TMCF has made a great investment in ECSU and look to continue to support their efforts," said Tameka Gibbs, assistant director of employer relations and special projects at ECSU.

Both events will be in the Ridley Student Center’s theater, room 206. 

About Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City State University provides students with a high-quality, affordable education. A constituent member of the University of North Carolina System, ECSU develops courageous, resilient, and empowered leaders through excellent student-centered, experiential learning. ECSU offers baccalaureate, professional, and master’s degrees across a wide variety of disciplines. Come to Discover. Leave to Conquer. Visit www.ecsu.edu.