WSSU's Dedecker, Graves Take Part in 2019 NFL Careers in Football Forum


ATLANTA, GA - Through continued collaboration with the National Football League (NFL), Winston-Salem State senior outfielder Shauntaja Dedecker and sophomore quarterback Dominique Graves took part in the league's fourth annual HBCU Careers in Football Forum alongside the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia over the weekend. The two were among 95 students from Historically Black Colleges & Universities to participate in the event this year.

"Each year, the NFL Careers in Football Forum brings together talented, bright minds to learn and explore the potential for opportunities in professional football," said Natara Holloway, Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development. "This program is one of the most important ways we engage with the HBCU community and helps to grow a more diverse and inclusive workforce across the league."

Hosted annually, the Careers in Football Forum serves to provide professional development and networking opportunities for HBCU students. Through this effort, students from participating institutions had the opportunity to engage with League and club executives and learn about career opportunities available to them in all areas of professional football. The Forum also taught participants about the skills needed to secure employment and allows the league to assist them in becoming strong candidates for open positions. 

While at the Forum, participants competed in a group case study competition. Made up of eight groups, the competition required students to present on one of the following topics selected by NFL clubs: Diversity Among Front Office Staff; HBCU fan Engagement; Engaging Local University Students; Maintaining Employee Retention; Diversity and Inclusion Employee Engagement Plan; Cyber Security, Fan Safety and Stadium Security Plan; Social Media Engagement Plan; Engaging Women Supporters. Each group presented its case study to a panel of NFL and club executives. Select participants will win the opportunity to complete an NFL Experienceship at the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida. The NFL Experienceship program aims to connect, develop, and provide diverse collegiate and professional participants with opportunities to learn about the business of sports through practical hands-on learning experiences at NFL Tentpole events, partnership activations, and research projects.

More information about the NFL Careers in Football Forum and the league's relationship with HBCUs, can be found here.

For more information on WSSU Athletics, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to