Although they’re not hounded by paparazzi or deluged with requests for autographs, Antonia Hill, C’2017, and Mya Havard, C’2016, are “stars” nonetheless. Selected as 2015 HBCU All-Stars by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hill and Havard are among 83 undergraduate, graduate and professional students from 70 schools across the country recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement. As part of the All-Stars program, the students recently convened in Washington, D.C., for the White House HBCU Week Conference.
Havard, a mathematics and computer science double major, said being an HBCU All-Star allows her to be an ambassador for Spelman and advocate for HBCUs.
“It has also given me the platform to inform my peers about the importance of supporting local and minority owned businesses, which is something I am very passionate about,” she said.
The HBCU All-Stars program has also given Havard access to individuals and organizations in the business community such as the Small Business Administration. She would eventually like to partner with the SBA and others to generate support for college-age entrepreneurs. Her career goal is to launch a technology company.
“This appointment has not only strengthened my professional network, it has also deepened my desire to advocate for the education of African Americans,” said Hill, a political science major who aspires to become an attorney for the Department of Education. “Representing the White House Initiative on HBCUs and serving as a liaison for Spelman College has exposed me to the many issues facing HBCUs and the Black community, while also providing me with the tools to help create solutions.”
Over the course of the next year, the HBCU All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs by providing outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the role of the initiative as a networking resource. Through social media and their relationships with community-based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.
Jerry Volcy, Ph.D., computer science lecturer and adviser to Havard, said being named an ambassador affords a special opportunity to raise the visibility of HBCUs.
“Mya and Antonia’s selection to the White House HBCU All-Stars Program is a huge honor for two of our brightest students and for Spelman. As the College’s student ambassadors to the White House, the All-Stars are potentially a powerful conduit through which issues and concerns at the college level remain on the radar at the federal decision-making level. I am so proud of these students.”