Representing diversity and equity in action, Sterling Bay this  week will conclude its annual Sterling Bay Connects, a six-week summer internship program  with a dozen students, including those selected from Historically Black Colleges and  Universities.

Sterling Bay selected 12 students for its internship program this summer, with three students  selected from HBCUs: Xavier University of Louisiana, Spelman College and Howard University.  Six of the interns are women, and six are people of color. Each HBCU student will receive  $3,000 scholarships for two years to support their graduation goal. Sterling Bay is one of the  first local developers to have a relationship with HBCUs related to educational scholarships and  internships.

Keiana Barrett, Sterling Bay Director of Diversity and Strategic Development, said, “It is crucial  that we build the pipeline of diverse talent in the construction field for our collective future. This  internship program for students from HBCUs has the opportunity to move the equity needle that  is necessary for building talent for Sterling Bay, as well as for the industry in general.”

Selected scholars include Sherri Arnold, a rising junior at Xavier University of Louisiana; Myana  Johnson, a rising junior at Howard University; and Kennedy Cole, a rising junior at Spelman  College. These outstanding students are receiving SB Connects to Excellence Scholarships  and/or SB Connects to HBCUs Scholarships, in partnership with Chicago Scholars. In the past  several weeks, interns had opportunities to visit Sterling Bay properties, as well as learn about  construction, site selection and leasing.

Xavier University of Louisiana rising junior Sherri Arnold of South Shore was among those  selected for the prestigious internship. Arnold attended Whitney Young Magnet School and  decided to attend an HBCU to expand her horizons. “I grew up in a single parent household,”  Arnold said. “My mom worked in healthcare and also worked with creating resources for  homeless people. She opened the door for me to see the disparity in my neighborhood. I want  to work to change that disparity.”

She wants a seat at the table and to see more diversity in the industry overall. “Having more  diversity makes you think about things you might otherwise not. I want my community to be  thought of when these buildings are being built, and I am here to bridge that gap,” she said.

Kennedy Cole, an Auburn-Gresham native and rising junior at Howard, said, “Being at Sterling  Bay has allowed me to be able to apply the things I learned into the career path that I am

currently pursuing. It is an experience that has shaped the way I will go about my remaining two  years of college and beyond.”

Myana Johnson of Chatham is a rising junior at Howard University, where is a Political Science  Pre-Law major. Prior to Howard, she graduated from Jones College Prep in Chicago. Very  interested in the fields of real estate and infrastructure, Johnson said Sterling Bay has given her  a steppingstone. ”This internship made me feel capable, that I have a lot to offer to this field,”  she said.

The students’ internships end Aug. 4 with a capstone presentation highlighting their gained  knowledge and experience at Sterling Bay. Through this program and others, Sterling Bay is  building unique relationships with higher education institutions, creating opportunities today for a  more inclusive and diverse workforce tomorrow.

A world-class real estate developer, Sterling Bay has deep involvement in creating and growing  diversity and equity in construction, real estate and the life sciences sector in Chicago. Beyond  the company’s efforts to engage minority-owned construction firms at Lincoln Yards – a 53-acre  mixed-use community being developed on former industrial land along the North Branch of the

Chicago River – this commitment includes investing in building careers and creating a pipeline  of the next generation in real estate.


Sterling Bay is a national real estate company that boldly transform spaces, industries, and  communities, sparking growth and opportunity at every turn. Known for creating innovative,  connected, and collaborative spaces for world-class companies such as Google, McDonald’s,  WPP, Pinterest, Dyson and Tyson Foods, Sterling Bay is consistently recognized for award winning projects that enhance communities and strengthen a company’s culture and brand.  Sterling Bay’s team of more than 185 professionals is responsible for a portfolio exceeding $5  billion, and a development pipeline of more than $20 billion. For more information,  visit


Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United  States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily  serving the African-American community. Learn more about the 107 schools identified as  HBCUs by the U.S. Department of Education:

About Author


Dr.Nikki Zeigler Publisher of The HBCU MAGAZINE

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