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2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announces 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

Washington – The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities announced today the names of 63 students from 54 HBCUs who have been selected as 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars – the Initiative's highest student recognition.

Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for successfully preparing to compete for top opportunities that improve long-term outcomes. Each was nominated and endorsed by their institution President, which itself is an honorable mention. They were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students chosen based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or "go-getter" spirit.

In the course of their one-year term, Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and HBCU competitiveness, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success.

Competitiveness Scholars will assemble September 16-18 at the 2018 National HBCU Week Conference held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, in Washington, D.C. During this national convening – the theme of which is HBCU Competitiveness: Aligning Institutional Missions with America's Priorities – they will participate in workshops designed to improve leadership, encourage ongoing personal and professional development and discover areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. As the embodiment of unique competitive advantages HBCUs provide students, Competitiveness Scholars are afforded opportunities to highlight their exceptional contributions to institutions, ignite new passions and explore ideas critical to lifelong growth and development.

Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for the 2018-2019 academic school year. Throughout this period, the Initiative will provide outreach and engagement activities, as well as information and resources that can be disseminated to fellow students. They are expected to fully take advantage of the opportunities provided, engage with one another and showcase individual and collective talents across the HBCU spectrum.

Competitiveness Scholars will receive their recognition during the conference on the evening of September 17, at the Initiative's Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Below is a list of the 2018 WHIHBCU Competitiveness Scholars, in alphabetical order by hometown state, the school they attend and the school's location.



Birmingham- Erin Black, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Demopolis- Caleb Washington, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama

Selma- Terrance Platt, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama


Harare, Zimbabwe- Basil Masaisai, Wiley College, Marshall, Texas


Little Rock- Kevontae Carter, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas


Nassau- Bercario Bodie, Saint Augustine's University, Raleigh, North Carolina


Long Beach- Akili Smith, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland


Tallahassee- Devin Harrison, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida

West Palm Beach- Zakiaya Telfort, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama


Augusta- D'Ariel Walker, Voorhees College, Demark, South Carolina

Austell- De'Janae Tookes, Jarvis Christian College, Hawking, Texas

Fairburn- Antonio McMillian Jr., Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia

Riverdale- Adelia McKinley, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia

Stockbridge- Serena Hughley, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia


Chicago- Faron Rush, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana

Chicago- Sade Shofidiya, Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia

Chicago- Philip Thompson, Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama


Louisville- Jallen Leavell, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee


Baton Rouge- Oscar McClain, Southern University Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Lafayette- Thea Celestine, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Lafayette- Justin Edwards, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia

Monroe- Jimmie Herring, Southern University Law School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

New Orleans- Brianna Golden, Southern University Law School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

New Orleans- Chevel Powell, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana


Edwards- Hezekiah Williams, Hinds Community College-Utica, Raymond, Mississippi

Gulfport- Reagon Johnson, Tugaloo College, Tugaloo, Mississippi

Pearl- Jamireia Hampton, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Beta, Mississippi


Florissant- Kamron Robinson, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

Kansas City- Michael Weaver, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky

Saint Louis-Reid Chunn, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri


Las Vegas- Erinn Williams, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio


Concord- Ijemdinma Ozodigwe, Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Denver- Torey Haynes, Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Elizabeth City- Rachel Sutton, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia

Elizabeth City- Briana Rountree, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greensboro- Erykah Briggs-White, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Hunterville- Kailyn Price, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Greensboro, North Carolina

Newton- Chelsea Powell, Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina


Cincinnati- Daniel Lee, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio


Tulsa- Michael Ware, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi

Tulsa- Myshal Morris, Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma


Philadelphia- Jabir McKnight, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia- Jameerah Ali, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina


Abbeville- Deandre Hurley, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Greenville- Kourtney Smith-North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Greensboro, North Carolina

Mount Pleasant- Raekwon McFadden, Morris College, Sumter, South Carolina

Orangeburg- David King, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia

Spartanburg- Jordan Rice-Woodruff, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Spartanburg- Sabrena Brink, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina


Nashville- Tyler Binion, Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina

Memphis- Irah Gates, Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi


Beaumont- Nneka Ede, Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University, Prairie View, Texas

Houston-Cydney Stevenson, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana

Houston- Opara Elizabeth, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

Houston- Viesha Gedfrey-Phelps, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

San Antonio- Alicia Perry, St. Philips College, San Antonio, Texas

Spring- Maduforo Eze, Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University, Prairie View, Texas


Alexandria- Mona Lisa Paulk, Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina

Hampton- Jose Thomas, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia

Richmond- DeVon Jackson, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia

Vicksburg- Lisa Johnson, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi


Belle- Edgar Lopez-Torres, West Virginia State University, Institute, West Virginia

Bluefield- Robert Brown, Bluefield State University, Bluefield, West Virginia

Volume 14 Issue 1
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