For Immediate Release
August 27, 2023
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(BPRW) Five Spelman College Students Awarded Spotify NextGen Scholarships

(Black PR Wire) ATLANTA — Spelman College is proud to announce that Spotify, the global music and podcast streaming platform, has awarded scholarships to five Spelman students through its NextGen program. Rising sophomores Rokiyah Darbo, Taylor Mills, Ashley Rawls, Bailey Johnson, and Tellisa Massey were selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship annually for three years. Beyond financial support, they'll also have the opportunity to become Spotify ambassadors.

The NextGen Scholarship provides multi-year funding for first-year students pursuing audio media careers, including podcasting, storytelling, writing, sound engineering, and music. Full-time enrollment and a minimum GPA of 3.0 are also prerequisites. These scholarships are an integral component of the NextGen program, powered by Spotify's Creator Equity Fund. This initiative aims to elevate podcast culture at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Spelman College was selected as the first HBCU to participate in the program.

Spelman Professor Michelle Hite, Ph.D., guided 17 students through a course focused on the NextGen audio-first curriculum during the Spring 2023 semester. The students created a seven-episode podcast series that explored the murder of Emmett Till and the enduring cultural legacy of his death.

“This collaboration between Spelman College and Spotify signifies a shared commitment to advancing education and fostering a more inclusive audio industry,” said Dr. Hite. With Spotify's support, these students are poised to shape the future of audio media, amplifying their voices and enriching the industry with fresh perspectives."

Taylor Mills, a theater and performance major, told Spotify the following when reflecting on her award, “Scholarships and learning opportunities from NextGen have endless possibilities. As a Spelman student, I am very grateful to NextGen because they have helped me financially and shown that they believe in my craft, creating spaces for HBCU students like me to thrive and learn about the business behind our future career goals.”

Earlier this year, Spotify hosted a Creator Day at Spelman bringing together 150 students and staff to learn about podcast creation from experts. They also launched a week long Spotify Labs Creator Program.

To learn more about the Spotify NextGen program at Spelman visit


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal has ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.