UK sophomore receives national scholarship from professional technology organization

Skilar Brooks, a sophomore Lewis Honors College student, information communication technology (College of Communication and Information) and marketing (Gatton College of Business and Economics) double major, is one of two national 2023 recipients of the Carl C. Williams Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Foundation Scholarship.

ITSMF is a national, nonprofit organization focused on the professional and personal development of Black technology professionals, especially those in leadership positions. ITSMF awarded Brooks a $5,000 scholarship.

Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to grow through career development, mentoring and networking at the ITSMF Symposia and other professional conferences, where they can network with Fortune 500 leaders and successful entrepreneurs in STEM-related fields.

For example, ITSMF also fully funded Brooks’ trip to New York City to attend ITSMF’s Technology Leader Awards on May 5. During this trip, Brooks attended a networking social, formal dinner and awards ceremony alongside some of the technology industry’s top leaders in the corporate, academic and nonprofit sectors.

“It was really cool getting to see people from minorities and different types of backgrounds not only working in the technology field but excelling in this space by having their own companies or being CEOs and CFOs,” Brooks said.

Beyond the inspiration she felt while at the event, Brooks said this award also set her up with connections that could lead to career-readiness opportunities.

“My goal is to be a cybersecurity lawyer, and I feel like ITSMF provides me with the network to feel comfortable enough to reach out to a member and see if I could shadow them to narrow down my special interests in the field,” Brooks said.

Brooks said she encouraged any other UK students who are eligible to apply for an ITSMF scholarship during the next application cycle.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.