Meet Cadence Patrick, a rising technologist and Spelman College student whose goal is to support young Black women in STEM.
The Computer Science major and HBCU Design Challenge winner is passionate about utilizing art and technology to uplift her community.
Cadence is a proud Black Girls Code alumna and continues to work with the program as a Student Ambassador. The innovative program, founded by technologist Kimberly Bryant, inspired Cadence to continue the work of guiding young Black women who want to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“It’s been really cool growing up with this community of Black girls who are also passionate about computer science,” Cadence says. “Seeing people who are paving their own way for themselves, that is inspiring to me. I want to be that person that others can look up to.”
Cadence has a clear vision of the future that she is working towards. “The future I want to see is a future where we are free to express ourselves and to create without feeling limited by obstacles,” she says. “To Dream in Black is to dream of justice. There is a certain responsibility to make sure that we are being very intentional about creating positive impacts and standing up against the injustices that are happening.”
AT&T Dream in Black celebrates and empowers HBCU students like Cadence for their commitment to building a brighter future for us all.
Meet Kevell Byrd, a photographer and rising entrepreneur who is making a difference at her HBCU.
Majoring in Film with a minor in Business Administration, the Louisiana native is a decorated student athlete and the official photographer for her HBCU. She is also the founder of a production company, Vell Productions, and has shot for notable companies such as Nike, Def Jam and more.
Byrd uses photography to document and celebrate her community. Through her images, she captures the “culture, moments, history and people” that surround her. “I love capturing moments because you never know what memories or emotions somebody wants to hold,” she says.
Her work is also about capturing the Black experience and sharing that with the world. “Dream in Black means giving back to my culture and educating people in other cultures what it means to be Black through my photography,” says the photographer and entrepreneur.
Byrd is taking her love for visual storytelling a step further by creating a community for those who share her passion. “At my HBCU, I’m starting a Black photographer’s club so I could make a mentorship program for the students that want to be photographers, or that’s interested in a photography business, or just for fun,” she says.
The aspiring entrepreneur is making valuable connections to uplift her HBCU community and share her dream with fellow student photographers.
Kevell chats with Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of The Lip Bar and FAMU alum, on the brand-new series The Futurist presented by AT&T Rising Future Makers to discuss overcoming barriers, and the important role mentorship plays in creating pathways for others.
Shawn Kelly Smith
Meet Shawn Kelly Smith, a rising actor and HBCU theatre major who is making waves on his campus.
The young actor trained at Broadway for All and Boys & Girls Harbor Performing Arts Academy in Harlem, New York City before winning a scholarship to study theatre at his HBCU.
Smith is on a mission to transform Black representation in TV and film—with the ultimate goal of seeing more complex and layered portrayals of Black characters on stage and screen. The emerging talent, who also writes and produces music, is working toward the change he wishes to see.
“A lot of our stories fall into a certain category or tropes. There are so many genres, spectrums, and topics that we could tackle … so why is it not there?” he says. “We gotta get together, we gotta put these stories out there.”
Smith connects with his HBCU theatre community to collaborate on projects like plays and short films. “I think it’s about collaboration. I try my best on campus to reach out … Because those are the people you’re going into the industry with,” he says.
Shawn sits down with award-winning actor Lance Gross in episode one of The Futurist to discuss the importance of connection and diverse representation in TV and film. The Futurist is a brand-new series spotlighting the young people who are shaping a brighter future for us all.
About AT&T Rising Future Makers
AT&T Rising Future Makers is a program that honors a distinguished group of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) students who are actively influencing and giving back to their communities and campuses. Over the past two years, 50 HBCU students from 14 institutions nationwide have participated in the program. The application process is officially open for the upcoming cohort of students, offering them the chance to elevate their dreams with unmatched connections, networks, and opportunities that will drive their ambitions forward.
Creating an inclusive community for the next generation of leaders, the Rising Future Makers Showcase is a call for future-focused HBCU students to apply to become a part of the Rising Future Makers network, by exhibiting how they are making a difference. Through the Dream in Black platform, AT&T prioritizes amplifying historically underrepresented voices and equipping upcoming generations for success.
Learn more about AT&T Rising Future Makers and how to apply by visiting more.att.com/dreaminblack/RFM.
2023 submissions will close on November 6th.