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HBCU All-Star wants to be ‘female Bill Gates’ by promoting excellence, empowerment

Kareen Powell-Childress has a “Game Plan” to elevate individuals. The senior computer science major from East St. Louis, Illinois, is JSU’s 2017 White House HBCU All-Star. She plans to create a versatile community program that incorporates creative and professional development, technology and sports. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

Karmeen Powell-Childress has a “Game Plan” to inspire and elevate individuals. The senior computer science major from East St. Louis, Illinois, is JSU’s 2017 White House HBCU All-Star. She plans to create a versatile community program that incorporates creative and professional development, technology and sports. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

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As Jackson State University’s 2017 White House HBCU All-Star, Karmeen Powell-Childress is advocating black empowerment and will use her position to promote excellence, innovation, HBCU sustainability and community outreach.

According to the national program, selected students from numerous HBCUs throughout the country serve as ambassadors by providing “outreach opportunities and communications to their fellow students about the value of education.”

In addition, All-Stars will use social media and personal and professional relationships with community-based organizations that will help young people realize their career potential.

Powell-Childress describes her selection as a coveted honor. The campus leader will serve as an ambassador by promoting love and inclusion through her self-described “Game Plan.”

The senior computer science major from East St. Louis, Illinois, was selected in August on the recommendation of then-interim President Rod Paige. However, the announcement didn’t occur until late September.

She’s no stranger to leadership, though, which is part of her DNA. Her mother, Debra Powell-Childress, was the first female mayor of her hometown.

Meanwhile, the JSU student said she sees the purpose of the White House Initiative as an avenue to send out resources to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and as a connection between HBCUs and the White House. “The team works hard to ensure we are included,” she said.

Karmeen said she’s prepared to move forward with her Game Plan. That’s because she benefited from a one-day training she received during an HBCU summit at the White House.

In September, she and her counterparts met with different agencies and operations of the federal government, including Homeland Security, the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA. They learned how to become better leaders and discovered ways to offer different resources to constituents.

Karmeen calls herself a game-changer with dreams of becoming “the female Bill Gates.” She said she wants to elevate individuals by creating a versatile community program that incorporates creative and professional development, technology and sports.

To enrich communities, game-changers will assist constituents with the following five components:

  • Brand development: develop logos and websites
  • Marketing development: establish in-house marketing, videography, photography, newsletter marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, web design, graphic design and social media marketing
  • Career development: host monthly webinars every two weeks and distribute resource blasts about a professional skill of the month through the Game Plan’s mobile application
  • Athletic development: participate in activities related to a game of the month
  • Personal development: identify the passion and skills of constituents to help them reach the next level in their craft

Powell-Childress is adamant about her pro-empowerment movement.

“I love Jackson State very much, HBCUs, in general, and the black community,” she said. “We must do all we can to help them prosper.”