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JSU students named HBCU Scholars for White House Initiative

Brikala Roach

Brikala Roach

Jackson State University students Brikala Roach and Kelsei Scott have been selected as HBCU Scholars for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The newly announced ninth cohort recognizes 86 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their academic accomplishments, leadership, civic engagement and much more.

“I am so excited and happy to be chosen as an HBCU Scholar. It’s a blessing to be representing JSU. It feels great to see that my hard work and service do not go unnoticed. I hope to gain resources and opportunities that I can bring to my school, as well as networking with others,” said Roach, a health, physical education and recreation major with a 3.7 GPA.

The senior says that she is also interested in participating in the various sessions offered by the initiative that will reintroduce her to STEM and business fields. “Being an HBCU scholar and meeting instructors and others in those fields is a great learning opportunity,” she said.

The HBCU scholars were chosen from a competitive pool of over 350 students. Applications also required the signature of their HBCU president or designated HBCU faculty, adding a level of prestige to this application process.

“I feel blessed to be selected as a White House Initiative HBCU Scholar. This is a monumental accomplishment for me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a participant in this program,” said Scott, a junior with a 3.3 GPA majoring in journalism and media studies. “I hope to gain a range of experience in different fields and connect with other HBCU scholars during my time.”

Kelsei Scott

Kelsei Scott

Over the academic year, HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. Training and cross-university networking opportunities will be available. Scholars will also have the chance to work on issues specifically related to the HBCU community and participate in national and regional events with professionals from a wide range of disciplines.

“The HBCU Scholars announced today have dedicated themselves 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 in a release. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting these leaders, and I cannot wait to learn from them while they serve as ambassadors for the White House Initiative and their institutions.”

A key feature of the HBCU Scholar Program is a partnership with NASA to foster innovation and opportunity for the cohorts. This partnership with NASA makes the Minority University Research and Education Project Innovation Tech Transfer Idea Competition, “Mini MITTIC,” part of the HBCU Scholar Program. Through the Mini MITTIC program, students will partner in developing ideas to commercialize technology derived from NASA intellectual property. Scholars will have the opportunity to present their IP ideas during the National HBCU Week Conference in September.

HBCU Scholars will be invited to the 2022 HBCU Week National Annual Conference on September 20-23 in Washington, D.C. During the conference, they will participate in sessions designed to engage a spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation, and personal and professional development. Most importantly, scholars will have opportunities to engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talent.

For more information, contact Rachel James-Terry at rachel.d.james-terry@jsums.edu