READING, Pa. — A new class of 283 Penn State Berks students will receive their baccalaureate and associate degrees on Saturday, May 5, 2018, when Berks hosts the spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.
The college will hold two separate ceremonies for its spring commencement; the first commencement ceremony will be held for students graduating from the EBC (Engineering, Business, and Computing) Division at 10 a.m. The second ceremony for students graduating from the HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) Division and the Science Division will be held at 2 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held outside on the Perkins Plaza, in front of the Perkins Student Center. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be held in the Beaver Community Center.
The keynote speaker will be Aniyia Williams, former student of Penn State Berks and University Park and a 2007 Penn State Schreyer Honors College graduate, and the founder of Tinsel, a tech jewelry start-up based in Silicon Valley.
At Penn State, Williams studied music, business, and Italian, and began work in nonprofit fundraising for arts organizations upon graduation. She later moved to San Francisco and held roles in community management, sales, and marketing at Voxer, a San Francisco-based mobile app tech company.
With her background in the arts and technology, a decade of training as a singer of classical music and opera, and experience in marketing, community management, business development, and non-profit fundraising, Williams had a unique set of skills that prepared her for the next role–entrepreneur.
Williams founded Tinsel in response to the lack of tech products developed with women in mind. After coming up with the idea of an audio accessory that doubles as a beautiful piece of jewelry, she left her role in marketing at Voxer to pursue developing and marketing her product.
In addition to founding Tinsel, she serves as executive director of the Black & Brown Founders Project, which provides vital resources to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs building tech companies with limited capital. The mission of the Black & Brown Founders Project is twofold: Give Black and Latinx founders the knowledge, tools, and cutting-edge tactics to build successful companies without relying on venture capital; and build a community of Black and Latinx founders to network and share resources with each other.
Williams currently resides in San Francisco with her husband, Marco, and her young daughter, Noemi Rose.