Xavier sophomore Mekhi Seraile will have two opportunities to intern with Toyota North America at their California or Texas locations. Both internships could lead to future employment with the automobile company. Thanks to a $25,000 scholarship from Toyota North America, Seraile and nine other students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities became the first recipients of the Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Fellows Scholarship. The award, named after Jackson, will allow students in Science-Technology-Engineering and Math (STEM) areas, as well as in business, to encourage students to take their education seriously and give them proper mentoring. According to Rainbow PUSH.com, “ Jackson is the founder and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. It is a multiracial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change. Their mission is to protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.”

Toyota paired up with Jackson’s organization to help fund the scholarships. Toyota’s support for Jackson’s initiative came from the company’s desire to diversity the pool of qualified engineering job candidates. The fellowship experience helps the recipients to prepare for the workforce. The students are paired with mentors from Toyota management to guide them through their last three years of college. The students beat out hundreds of applicants for the scholarship and other benefits as fellows.

“Toyota is proud to recognize and invest in the outstanding academic achievements of these 10 scholars,” said Simon Nagata, chief administrative officer, Toyota North America, in a release announcing the recipients. “The commitment to community service and personal excellence of these future leaders is truly inspiring, and we are excited to be a part of their journey,” Nagata said in the release. Seraile and the other nine scholars can renew the scholarship for another two years. The students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and participate in community service.

“I am so fortunate to have been selected for this scholarship and I am thankful for my mother, Jesus Christ, and my college professors for their guidance,” Seraile said. Seraile plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology to obtain his engineering degree.

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