Deadline Approaches To Enter UNCF And Verizon Wireless Essay Contest In Celebration Of Black History Month

ROCHESTER, NY — In honor of Black History Month, Verizon Wireless and UNCF(United Negro College Fund) have been sponsoring an essay contest over the past month in five regions where eligible high school students have the chance to win a total of 15 scholarships. To qualify for the contest, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, plan to attend a four-year accredited college or university in the Fall of 2011, and reside in New York State.

“It is important to support students in their efforts to improve and challenge themselves through higher education,” said Russ Preite, president of Verizon Wireless’ Upstate New York Region. “As education and diversity are pillars of the Verizon Wireless culture, we are excited to partner with UNCF once again and offer scholarships to help these dedicated, motivated students prepare for even brighter futures.”

The UNCF/Verizon Wireless Black History Month Essay Contest asks eligible high school seniors to write an essay of no more than 500 words that addresses how the evolution of wireless technology has changed their lives. UNCF officials will review all the applications and score the essays, with the top three applicants per region receiving the following scholarships:

  • First Place: $5,000 scholarship, netbook and Motorola DROID
  • Second Place: $4,000 scholarship, netbook and Motorola DROID
  • Third Place: $3,000 scholarship, netbook and Motorola DROID

“In recent years, wireless technology has become a much more integral and important part of our society,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. “This contest is a great opportunity to encourage students to understand how this affects their lives and to compete for scholarships to help pay for their college education. We thank Verizon Wireless for their continued support of UNCF and for investing in the next generation of leaders who will become our nation’s future scientists, teachers, business executives, doctors and lawyers.”

This Black History Month Essay Contest is one of a variety of educational and diversity programs supported by Verizon Wireless. With over 82,000 employees, Verizon Wireless drives workplace diversity by establishing programs to encourage the hiring and advancement of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Participating states include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Students are encouraged to visit for complete details on the essay contest and to apply online. The application deadline is March 15. For more information, contact UNCF Program Services at (703) 205-3400 or

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About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 94 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 82,000 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

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About UNCF UNCF--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 more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. UNCF supports education through scholarships and other programs, by supporting its 39 member colleges and universities, and by advocating for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 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. The UNCF logo features the torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at