College of Engineering Building

TSU students among brightest minds selected for Thurgood Marshall College Fund Inaugural Apple Engineering & Innovation Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Three Tennessee State University students have been selected to participate in the inaugural class of Apple’s Engineering & Innovation (E&I) Program. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announced that Derrion Boyce, Ashleigh Thomas and Tenille Cochran are the TSU Apple Scholars for the program.

All showed their gratitude for the scholarship award of $15,000 for the academic school year.

Derrion Boyce

Boyce, a first-generation college student and rising senior majoring in electrical engineering, said the Apple HBCU Scholars award allows him to have a seamless journey to obtaining his degree.

“This scholarship has given me more hope, and less worry about college,” Boyce said. The Chicago, Illinois, native said he looks forward to becoming a prominent figure and role model at TSU as he will take full advantage of the scholarship opportunity. “I really appreciate the opportunity given to me to help pay for my education, that will help my future.”

Ashleigh Thomas

Ashleigh Thomas of Suwanee, Georgia, who is a computer science major, also stated that the opportunity has motivated her to continue thriving and finish off her last year in college strong.

“Being an Apple scholar has motivated me to remain focused on obtaining my degree,” Thomas said. “It has given me the confidence that I will one day be an innovator as Apple has been to people and the world.”

Professor and Interim Dean of Civil Engineering Dr. Lin Li said the innovative program will prepare the students to become the next generation of diverse leaders.

“It is such great support to three TSU students with the inaugural class of Apple’s E & I Program,” Dr. Li said.

Rising junior and Nashville native Tenille Cochran, who is an architectural engineering major said she was shocked when she received recognition from TMCF and Apple.

Tenille Cochran

“To be acknowledged for my accomplishments as an undergraduate student, it has given me confidence and broaden my perspective regarding my personal and professional development,” Cochran said.

“It helped me realize that all I needed was courage, effort, and confidence to achieve my goals. I can’t express how much the Apple Scholars program changed my life.”

President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Dr. Harry L. Williams said The E&I Scholars are recognized as among the best in the country. “With the support of Apple, we look forward to advancing and elevating the critical importance of science and automation in preparing tomorrow’s tech leaders,” he said.

In total, 43 Apple E&I Scholars were selected from applicants from engineering programs at America’s publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs).

The Apple Engineering & Innovation Program is an initiative designed to equip the next generation of Black tech leaders through financial assistance, access to training and professional development experiences, and real-world skill application. The program will also allow scholars to engage in technical learning opportunities and participate in sessions led by Apple executives and industry leaders, according to a report from TMCF.

Apple Engineering & Innovation Scholars will also have opportunities to secure internships and full-time employment after graduation.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs. TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit><

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at<>.