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B-CU Student Ty'Reanna Harris Reflects on Nike Internship Experience

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“I’m open-minded and willing to learn and don’t believe there’s one way to get to plan Z, as long as you get there. Interning at Nike helped me to realize who I am as an adult. It forced me to grow up… I can actually survive by myself.” -Ty'Reanna Harris, (Class of 2018 Psychology)

Ty’Reanna Harris just did it.

The senior psychology major landed a three-month paid internship at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon during summer 2017. Her assignment in strategic planning was a creative immersion in Nike’s “culture of invention” that left her with much more than a resume blurb -- she learned about life.

“There’s no manual. It’s all about going as hard as you can to figure out where you fit and bringing your best self and a level of enthusiasm to the table so that others want to work with you,” Ty'Reanna said.

After a three-day orientation, Ty'Reanna was included in meetings with c-suite executives. And over the course of her internship, she followed a rubric which helped her provide meaningful input on consumer trends and competitive analysis for one of the world’s most recognized brands.

“I had no idea there was another side of Nike outside of shoes and clothes. They are a company hungry for millennials,” she said.

Ty'Reanna worked in strategic planning where she was responsible for helping to shape the three-year track for collegiate and professional field sports, which included football, baseball, softball, and lacrosse. The exposure also gave her the chance to dabble in product and merchandising.

After overcoming a bout of homesickness, with the aid of mentors, who encouraged her to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Ty'Reanna persevered and stopped counting the days until she’d return home and focused instead on soaking up and contributing as much as she could.

“As a young adult, it was the furthest I’d ever been away from home and my first experience in corporate America,” she reflected. “All of my jobs had been in camp and in school. Learning to follow the chain of command was helpful. One of the highlights was helping to put on a boot camp for 1,400 athletes. Watching your favorite athletes on TV is one thing, but having them walk by you is altogether different. It was also culturally enriching, coming from an HBCU environment and being on the other side of the world.”

Ty'Reanna, who worked at Nike until the Friday before her fall semester says she is much better prepared for the world of work.

“I have a better level of focus and I figured out how to best prioritize getting things done. You cannot procrastinate.”

Tyreanna also made time to attend Highland Christian Center in Oregon where she served as a youth leader.

Ty'Reanna credits her faith, family and university mentors Rev. Kenya Lovell, B-CU University Chaplain; Rev. John Baldwin II, B-CU Dean of Chapel; Sophia Huger Baldwin, Director of Public Affairs and others like, Bonisha Porter Dean of Student Affairs, Jabal Moss Student Success Coach and Atiya Towns Academic Advisor who would often send encouraging words through text messages and phone calls, providing the support and encouragement she needed to complete the assignment.

After graduation, Ty'Reanna plans to attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University and earn a master’s degree in divinity and public health. Ty'Reanna is future ready!

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.