Campus Life | July 4th, 2024

Rattlers Run DevCon

By: Nissa Phillip
Rattlers Run DevCon

It is only right that students from the number one public HBCU took over the Black Mecca of the South. Last week, rattlers attended a massive professional development conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) hosted 400 HBCU students for DevCon 2024. Of this group, over 100 were from Florida A&M University (FAMU), more than any other institution. 

TMCF covered all expenses for attendees. The conference provided students with a unique experience, positioning itself perfectly at the cross-section of diverse HBCU culture and corporate preparedness.  

Arrival Day 

 On arrival day, students donned their HBCU attire and attended welcome sessions. TMCF partnered with companies such as Wells Fargo, TekSystems, and Medtronic. Global fashion retailer Coach granted students the opportunity to select free pieces. After hearing a bit more about the program and the different corporate partners in attendance, students had high hopes.  

  Zaki Brown is a cybersecurity student from Singapore. He participated in the conference as a student speaker, emceeing and leading students in chants.  

“[The student speakers] pushed to make sure we could give you guys a show and grab your attention every time,” Brown said, “I had a lot of anxiety, but I overcame my fear and shyness.” 

 The day’s highlight was the opening reception at the end of the day. Students gathered in an open area and danced for hours. In typical HBCU fashion there were several line dances and some friendly competition.  




PICTURE courtesy of Isaiah Clayborn





Sirgany Leger is a transfer student from Port St. Lucie, FL. He has admitted that it can be difficult to connect with students as a transfer, but DevCon changed that dynamic. 

  “It was a dope experience being a Rattler at DevCon,” Leger said. “DevCon gave me an opportunity to connect with not only people from FAMU but also other HBCU scholars. The sense of community and shared purpose was incredible.”  

 Day 1 

 Thursday was the first official day of the conference. Students had access to an immense amount of knowledge and resources such as free headshots, financial literacy workshops and a resume-building seminar. Each day presented a mix of large lectures and small group activities focused on building the different tenets of succeeding in corporate America. The night ended with an intense etiquette dinner where students learned to “Dine like a Diplomat.”  

 Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to win prizes. Ariyon Malone, an architecture student, won AirPod Pro Maxes by interacting with InternXL on social media.  

 Day 2 

 Friday began with a seminar on the importance of mental health in the black community, followed by more rotational sessions. Over dinner there was a panel discussion about the importance of black youth voters and activism. Among the panelists was FAMU alumnus Omari Crawford. The day ended with a Spades and Uno tournament while students competed in the Coca-Cola Hackathon.  

 Zuri Eccleston, a political science student, was on the winning Hackathon team led by Annabel Ondieki. The prize was a thousand-dollar check and MacBook Pro for each person on the winning team. 

 “Being in the Hackathon was a pleasure, as I heard many different ideas on solving the dirty water crisis in our backyard rather than in other countries,” said Eccleston. “It was amazing to have a team composed of women from FAMU, and it made the experience even more unique, especially with such a heartfelt and organized leader like Annabel.”  



PICTURE courtesy of Zuri Eccleston, the five ladies were the winners of the Coca Cola Hackaton. 





Day 3

The last day began with a session on bringing your A-game into a corporate environment. This was followed by the career fair, where students could network with partners and leverage the skills they had learned thus far to possibly land an internship.  

 Ariyon Malone encourages students to attend DevCon in the future if given the opportunity.  

 “I honestly loved how much DevCon poured into me and how privileged I was to have an opportunity like this where my only takeaway was pure knowledge,” said Malone. “They want you to embrace your potential as early as you can.” 

 Over lunch, we discussed what it means to make bold moves with Grammy Award-winning actress Danielle Brooks. The conference ended with the TMCF Sneaker Ball. The formal soiree was open to all students and partners, which made for a great closing.


 PICTURE courtesy of @coleshotdaton Instagram shows FAMU students at DevCon’s Sneaker Ball 







Jordan Carter is a business administration student from Orlando, Florida. She enjoyed the sneaker ball because it was the largest social event. 

 “At DevCon, social events are essential for networking and building relationships. They provided relaxed settings for us to connect informally,” Carter said. “It aided in creating memorable experiences beyond the conference sessions.” 

 Student Speaker Andre Springer sums up the large FAMU presence at DevCon. “It felt amazing being a Rattler at DevCon because we had the highest attendance at DevCon, and in my opinion, we were the most spirited. We got to truly display that we all operate as one big FAMUly,” Said Springer. “I learned that through thick and thin, FAMU has earned to be the #1 Public HBCU because we hold the spirit, hard work, and because we are the future of this world.”