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Tuskegee students benefit from Coca-Cola internships

November 02, 2017

Contact: Michael Tullier, APR
Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Two TU students stand with Andy Britton from Cocacola and TU Interim President Charlotte Morris
Andy Britton (far left), Coca-Cola UNITED’s marketing assets manager, and Interim
President Charlotte P. Morris (far right) with Young and Gilbert (center, left and right).

Two Tuskegee University undergraduates were among the 10 students participating in a week-long Coca-Cola UNITED Central Region internship at the company’s Birmingham and Montgomery offices. The internship program, part of the company’s ongoing partnership with regional historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), offered these students firsthand experience in a range of roles available at Coca-Cola, including operations management, packaging, pricing, event planning and philanthropy. 

“We are proud to invest in the future workforce of America and we’re thrilled to host these exceptional HBCU students on site,” said Bo Taylor, vice president, Central Region, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. “We hope the experience they’ve had helps them to further develop career goals and provides them with a valuable perspective as they plan for their next phase in life.”

Chyna Gilbert, a senior from Gary, Indiana, studying supply chain management, encouraged her fellow students to pursue internships in their respective fields.

“Internships are like on-the-job training — before you even get the job,” Gilbert said. “I've learned so much from participating in them. They have helped mesh what I’ve learned in class with my expanding knowledge and experience in my area of study.”

Gilbert hopes to apply her degree and internship experiences to lead and expand the family business — a salon and cosmetology school in Birmingham, where her family now resides.

“I’m a licensed cosmetologist, but I want to stay on the business side once I graduate and help build an empire, ensuring we are operating as innovatively, efficiently and effectively as possible,” Gilbert added.

Coca-Cola UNITED Vice President Bo Taylor with the 2017 “Pay it Forward” interns
Coca-Cola UNITED Vice President Bo Taylor with the 2017 “Pay it Forward” interns.

Tifphanie Young, a senior from Miami, Florida, majoring in business administration, looks forward to applying her classroom and internship experiences to benefit an educationally focused nonprofit organization.

“This internship helped me better understand how the operations of a major company work,” she said. “I’m using that knowledge in the classes I’m taking this semester.”

Like Gilbert, Young stressed the importance of internships to broadening her fellow students’ networking opportunities.

“If you have the chance to intern somewhere, be open to the new experience, network and enjoy the environment,” Young said. “Ask as many questions as you please, and don’t be afraid to be yourself when interacting with professionals.”

The internship experience, prior to the start of the fall semester, is a part of the companywide “Pay it Forward” program, which aims to provide African-American youth with opportunities to celebrate their achievements and further their success. In February 2017, Coca-Cola UNITED selected 10 students from five regional HBCUs for the internship. In addition to Tuskegee University, students represented Alabama State University, Miles College, Stillman College and Talladega College.

To learn more about opportunities to participate in the 2018 “Pay it Forward” program, visit in January 2018.

© 2017 Tuskegee University