Former Arthur Ashe Scholar Named Trump’s New Apprentice

Randal Pinkett, who was honored as an Arthur Ashe scholar for his academic and athletic excellence by Black Issues In Higher Education magazine in 1990s, was named Donald Trump’s new apprentice last Thursday night during the NBC reality show’s finale.

“The Apprentice” seemed more like “Survivor” as Pinkett and his
co-finalist, Rebecca Jarvis, a financial journalist, each fought for
their professional lives in the boardroom with Trump. Pinkett had
strong support from his fellow teammates, one who said that Jarvis was
not even in the same league as Pinkett. Another said the decision
between the two finalists should be a very easy decision for the Trump
organization. When asked why Trump should hire him, Pinkett said,
“Rebecca writes about business, I run one.”

It appeared to be a difficult decision for the real estate mogul, but
Trump ultimately chose Pinkett as his new apprentice. And in an unusual
and unprecedented move, Trump asked Pinkett whether he should hire
Jarvis as well. Remarked Pinkett who dismissed the idea, “This is the
apprentice, not apprenti.”

Pinkett’s academic distinctions are indeed impressive with Pinkett
having earned five degrees. At Rutgers University, Pinkett graduated
with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. A star athlete in
track and field while at Rutgers, he was named by Black Issues In Higher Education
magazine as an Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar. He is also a former Rhodes
Scholar and earned a master’s in computer science while at Oxford
University in the Rhodes program.

Pinkett received his doctorate from MIT in 2001 and is a 1998 alumnus
of MIT’s Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) program, a two-year graduate
program in which students earn a master’s degree in engineering and an
MBA.

While at MIT, Pinkett acquired his Ph.D. as a student in the school’s
prestigious Media Laboratory. The Media Lab program allowed him to meld
his extensive engineering and technology expertise with a passionate
interest in community development. As a doctoral candidate in the
Epistemology and Learning Group in the Media Lab, Pinkett launched the
Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections Project.  The
Camfield Estates initiative introduced computer networking technology
to residents in a low- to moderate-income housing development in
Roxbury, Mass. At the end of a 10-week experimental period during the
project, Pinkett documented substantial quantitative changes in how the
residents at Camfield Estates communicated with each other.

“Most significantly, there was a real qualitative change in their
perception of themselves as learners. Although reluctant at first, they
made a 180-degree turn from where they started to where they are now,”
Pinkett told Black Issues in Education.

In 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented
Pinkett with the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award for his
doctoral work in helping low-income Boston residents use digital
technology to enhance their community.

After completing his Ph.D., Pinkett founded BCT (Building Community
through Technology) Partners, a consulting company, in his home state
of New Jersey, which has continued the work of his dissertation project.



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