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Spotify Expands NextGen Audio Program to Historically Black Colleges & Universities Share a Spelman College Press Release

Atlanta, GA— Today, Spelman College announced a partnership with Spotify to expand NextGen, Spotify’s program designed to infuse, activate and grow podcast culture on Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) campuses across the United States. This new initiative is supported by the Spotify Creator Equity Fund, which powers the company’s commitment to showcasing and uplifting creators who have historically been underrepresented in the audio industry.

Spelman is the first HBCU to offer NextGen programming beginning early next year during the spring semester.  

“We look forward to collaborating with Spotify on the new NextGen programming that will be offered to help further elevate the voices and creative content of our students,” said Helene Gayle, M.D., MPH, president of Spelman College. “At the core of what drives the Spelman experience is our students’ ability to combine their academic learning and practical experiences as pathways to career and entrepreneurial opportunities. Thank you to Spotify and Michelle Hite, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Spelman, who helped make this partnership possible.” 

Spotify currently partners with the University of Southern California, University of Pennsylvania and New York University to offer NextGen podcast programming and curriculum. In partnership with Spelman, Spotify intends to leverage this impactful program to create a new class of Black content creators, equipping them with tools and resources to develop their podcast skills set. Spotify will also connect HBCU students with a roster of experts from Spotify’s Studios team as well as the voices of their Originals & Exclusives in hopes of inspiring them about a career in podcasting and offering a chance to hear first-hand about how to make it in the audio industry.  

“As an HBCU grad myself, I know first-hand the remarkable energy and creativity that flows through these institutions. It’s palpable,” said Kristin Jarrett, equity & impact strategy and outreach lead at Spotify. “NextGen allows us to get closer to this exceptional pipeline of Gen Z talent and storytellers, powering our goal of having a diverse roster of creators on our platform on our road to 50 million creators and one billion users.” 

Here are some of the NextGen initiatives Spotify intends to bring to Spelman College: 

  • Dedicated on-campus podcast recording space with professional equipment 
  • Events featuring Spotify executives and podcast talent 
  • Spotify support of existing, relevant curriculum and access to tailored training programs 
  • Co-creation of student-led original audio content 
  • Potential Academic scholarship support 
  • Consideration to participate in a 10-week Spotify internship program 

Spelman College students can contact Michelle Hite, Ph.D., associate professor of English, to learn more about the program. 

Media Contact 

Lydia Sermons, Spelman College  

Cell: 470.898.6451; Email:   

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About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal has ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


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