September 28, 2022—Cognizant, in partnership with the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), launched the annual Steven Skinner Scholarship Award for Black graduate students. Together with the NBMBAA, this endowed fund will award at least one scholarship of $3,000 annually to a qualified MBA student. The scholarship provides recognition for involvement and service to the community, demonstrated leadership and academic achievement.
The inaugural 2022 scholarship was awarded to Narom Louis, an MBA student in project management at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael Valocchi, SVP - Head of Cognizant Consulting and Americas Strategy, presented the award at the NBMBAA Collegiate Partner Reception in Atlanta, Georgia.
A member of the Cognizant team beginning in 2010, Skinner was a Senior Vice President in consulting and served as executive sponsor for the African American and Latinx Affinity Group. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former Naval Commander, Skinner, was also involved with the Cognizant Veterans Network. He earned many professional awards and honors during his career, including Consulting Magazine’s Top 25 Consultants, the Cognizant CEO Leadership Award, the IBM Golden Circle Award, and the Monmouth College Hall of Achievement Award. Skinner passed away in February 2019.
This year’s scholarship winner, Narom Louis, also serves as the Director of the Environmental Engineering Special Interest Group for the National Society of Black Engineers, where he helps deliver programming to their global membership on topics such as sustainability and urban tree canopy restoration. As a first-generation college graduate, his goal in obtaining an MBA is to increase business acumen and leverage his engineering background to broaden his ability to impact his organization positively.
“I am honored to be the first recipient of the Steven Skinner Endowed Scholarship,” said Narom Louis. “Steven embodies excellence and success. His story has truly inspired me and motivates other young men like me to achieve excellence and greatness in graduate school and beyond.”
"I’m privileged to represent Cognizant and honor Steven’s tremendous contributions to the consulting community with this scholarship fund.” Michael Valocchi said. “This award represents Cognizant’s commitment to aiding underrepresented students pursuing MBAs, and those who wish to continue in the footsteps of Steven to lead with integrity. Congratulations to our inaugural winner, Narom Louis, who has a bright future ahead of him.”