FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) has named five students from Florida as “HBCU All-Stars.” Seventy-five students from 62 historically Black institutions recently were named 2014 HBCU All-Stars.
The Florida students are Shantel Braynen of Daytona Beach, who attends Bethune-Cookman University; Tallahassee native Jamil McGinnis and Jazmyne Simmons of Tampa, who are students at Florida A&M University, Miami’s Jonte Myers of Florida Memorial University; and Vivian Nweze of Orlando, a student at Howard University.
The students were selected from an application pool of 445 students to become HBCU ambassadors to the White House.
Assists the president
To qualify as an HBCU All-Star, students must display excellence in academics and community involvement through the submission of their college transcripts, resume, an essay and letters of recommendation.
According to WHIHBCU Executive Director George Cooper, the students will assist the White House in accomplishing its mission of “engaging with the next generation of leaders who will graduate from HBCUs and go on to make meaningful contributions to society.”
As ambassadors, the students will assist in advancing President Barack Obama’s goal of ensuring that a greater percentage of African-Americans complete college through promoting higher education and WHIHBCU programs on their campuses, social media and at regional and national events. The students will also be charged with engaging with other scholars to showcase the individual and collective talent of the HBCU community.
Humbled by opportunity
For Simmons, a Tallahassee native pursuing a master’s degree in public health, being selected as an HBCU All-Star is an opportunity to give back to FAMU and the HBCU community.
“I’ve always been taught to work hard, but to actually see it pay off is inspirational. I am really humbled and privileged to be called upon to step up and promote FAMU and HBCUs. FAMU has contributed to my success in so many ways,” said Simmons, who recently completed an internship at the Centers for Disease Control and hopes to pursue a career in the behavioral sciences, including starting a non-profit organization for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
According to McGinnis, a third-year business administration student from Tampa, the White House recognition is an opportunity to fulfill his dream of ensuring the financial soundness of young minorities through encouraging them to complete their education.
“Finance is something that drives our world – whether we know it or not. So, for me its about ensuring that the next person is fully equipped, through education, to go where they want to go financially, whether it is to Wall Street or just to help their family,” said McGinnis, president of the FAMU Chief Financier Organization, who recently completed an internship at J.P. Morgan and plans to pursue a career in finance.
For more information about the White House HBCU All-Star program, visit, /www.ed.gov/edblogs/whhbcu. A report from Florida A&M University was used in this report.