FVSU students named 2022 HBCU Scholars for White House Initiative

by Pamela Berry-Johnson

Posted on Jun 14, 2022

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities recently recognized two Fort Valley State University students as part of its ninth cohort of HBCU Scholars.

FVSU students Jennifer Vasquez and Miykael Stith, along with 84 other undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, were recognized for their academic accomplishments, leadership, civic engagement, and much more.

Vasquez of Austell, Ga., recently graduated from FVSU's College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology as an animal science major. Stith of Byron, Ga., is a Media Studies major with a concentration in Broadcasting and a minor in Marketing.

The HBCU scholars were selected 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.

"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. "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."

Over an academic year, HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. They will be offered training and cross-university networking opportunities. Scholars will also have an opportunity to work on issues specifically related to the HBCU community and participate in national and regional events with professionals from various disciplines.

"As an HBCU graduate, I'm honored to announce our HBCU Scholars, our future leaders of tomorrow. At HBCUs we are a family, we build each other up and we're taught that we can do and be anything," said Dietra Trent, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through HBCUs. "I look forward to supporting the growth of our HBCU family through the Scholar Recognition Program."

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 (MUREP) Innovation Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC), "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. In addition, scholars will be able to present their IP ideas during the National HBCU Week Conference in September.

"The goal with Mini MITTIC is to provide the HBCU Scholars with an authentic experience while ensuring they leave with the foundational tools to utilize NASA intellectual property to create their own business concept and participate in the full MITTIC competition," said Misti Moore, NASA's Johnson Space Center MUREP Lead & MITTIC Activity Manager.

HBCU Scholars will also 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.

Program events are designed to enhance HBCU scholars professional development and create post-graduation opportunities within non-profit, businesses, and federal agency partners to ensure that as a nation, we remain globally competitive.

More information about the 86 HBCU Scholars' activities will be provided in the coming months as they serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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