Verizon Wireless And The United Negro College Fund Announce Syracuse, New York, Winner Of 2010 Black History Month Essay Contest

SYRACUSE, NY — Verizon Wireless and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) today announced that Syracuse resident Rayshon Mason, a senior at Corcorcan High School, took fifth place in the Upstate New York division of the 2010 Verizon Wireless/UNCF Black History Month Essay Contest. Mason will receive a $2,500 college scholarship plus a DROID by Motorola smartphone and $1,450 in company gift cards.

Mason is one of five winners from Upstate New York and 25 winners from across the Northeast who will share in $85,000 in college scholarship money. The winners were selected from more than 800 entries in the essay contest which asked them to write a 500-word essay on the topic of how wireless technology has changed the world in which we live. The essays were submitted during Black History Month in February. The UNCF reviewed the essays and selected the winners.

Other winners from Upstate New York include:

  • First Place – Cameron Younger from Ithaca: $5,000 college scholarship, an HP Mini 311 netbook, a DROID by Motorola smartphone and $2,250 in Verizon Wireless gift cards.
  • Second Place – Yawa Zewou from Troy: $4,000 college scholarship, HP Mini 311 netbook, DROID by Motorola smartphone and $2,250 in Verizon Wireless gift cards.
  • Third Place – Ashly Dunwoody from Rochester: $3,000 college scholarship, HP Mini 311 netbook, DROID by Motorola smartphone and $2,250 in Verizon Wireless gift cards.
  • Fourth Place – Marc Luko from Buffalo: $2,500 college scholarship, DROID by Motorola smartphone and $1,550 in company gift cards.

“The 21st century economy runs on technology,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF President and CEO. “It has changed the way we live and the way we work. Verizon Wireless’ support for the Verizon Wireless/UNCF Black History Month Essay Contest will help these aspiring young leaders get the education they need, and that our nation needs them to have, in order to compete in a global economy.”

“We commend of all the highly talented students who submitted an essay for the Verizon Wireless/UNCF Black History Month contest,” said Russ Preite, president of Verizon Wireless’ Upstate New York Region. “They demonstrated an advanced understanding of the role technology plays in our lives and how its evolution will continue to shape the future. We’re honored to provide these scholarships and devices that will help the students further their education at leading four-year colleges.”

To qualify for the contest, students had to have a minimum grade point average of 2.0, plan to attend an accredited four-year college or university in the Fall of 2010, and reside in one of the following states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

This Black History Month Essay Contest is one of a variety of educational and diversity programs supported by Verizon Wireless. With a diverse workforce of over 81,000, Verizon Wireless drives workplace diversity by establishing programs to encourage the hiring and advancement of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving nearly 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 81,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at

About UNCFUNCF—the United Negro College Fund—is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at