Texas Southern University students Kiyana Akins and Dexter Maryland have been selected as members of the eighth cohort of HBCU Scholars hosted by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Initiative). This program recognizes 86 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, civic engagement, and much more.
Over the course of an academic school year, the HBCU Scholars selected through this program will serve as ambassadors of the Initiative and their respective institution. The Initiative will provide scholars with information about the value of education as well as networking opportunities. Scholars can also share these resources with their fellow students.
“The HBCU Scholars announced today all have demonstrated remarkable dedication to their learning and exemplify the talent that our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have nurtured for generations,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The students who hold this honor are committed to creating a more just and equitable society through their civic engagement. They are leaders and change-makers in their communities, and I cannot wait to learn from them as they serve as ambassadors both for the White House Initiative and their institutions of higher education.”
Through their relationships with community-based organizations, and public and private partners, all of which are gained through this recognition, scholars will also share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.
“I am elated to uplift and propel my fellow peers by assisting in enriching their educational investment. In this vein, I couldn’t be more proud to exemplify student leadership, civic engagement, and scholastic achievement. Unequivocally, it is critical to reaffirm the significance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ ability to produce trailblazers and change agents,” said Akins, a senior broadcast journalism major from Oklahoma City, OK.
Selected HBCU Scholars will be invited to the 2021 HBCU Week National Annual Conference, which will take place September 7-10, 2021. This year’s conference theme is “Exploring Equity.” During their time at the conference, they will participate in sessions about entrepreneurship, innovation, and personal and professional development. Most importantly, they will also have opportunities to engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.
“Being recognized as a White House HBCU scholar means so much to me,” said Maryland, a rising junior political science major from Houston. “With this award, I am able to motivate my peers, encourage my community and change the narrative of our institution.”
This cohort of HBCU Scholars will also participate in national and regional events and monthly classes with Elyse Jones, HBCU Scholar Program Coordinator, Initiative staff, and other professionals from a wide range of disciplines. All HBCU Scholar events are designed to connect HBCU students with non-profit, business, and federal leaders to discuss professional development while identifying challenges and providing equitable solutions to barriers that HBCU students face when preparing and entering the 21st-century workforce.