White House Initiative On HBCUs Announces 2019 Cohort of HBCU Competitiveness Scholars, Features Several NASAP SLI Student Leaders


It’s amazing that it’s been 2 years since I represented Fort Valley State University and the HBCU Community as a White House HBCU All-Star. It was a rewarding, and interesting, experience where I met so many amazing people from other institutions. I learned so much about the HBCU world and the unique beauty of every institution. I can even say that my experience shaped what HBCU Pulse has become. This year, looking at the names on this list, I’m impressed! The scholars that the Initiative picked are ready for the mantle of being in Washington representing the HBCU nation! Many of them were just at The National Association of Student Affairs Professionals Student Leader Institute held at Savannah State University!

I have to give a special shout out to my NASAP people Mister Benedict Saxton Keitt (also from my Hometown of Macon), Wiley College SGA President Angelique Cooper, Miss Savannah State University Aaliyah Buckholts, Fayetteville State University SGA President Kiante Bennett and my Presidential Ambassador and SGA President for Lincoln University of Pennsylvania Elisabeth Bellevue! And a HUGE shout out to my friend and ambassador from Fort Valley State University Rodesha Elam! I can’t wait to see her continue to push the All-Star/Scholar posistion!

Per the White House Initiative on HBCUs:

Competitiveness Scholars will assemble during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference, September 8-11 at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel – the theme of which is Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance. (I like the periods vs. commas – let me know your thoughts). They will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership, wealth creation and management and civic engagement and will be encouraged to seek out ongoing personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for the 2019-2020 academic school year. Throughout this period, the Initiative will facilitate engagement activities, as well as provide information and resources that scholars can take advantage of or disseminate to fellow students. Scholars are encouraged to fully take advantage of the opportunities provided, engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talents across the HBCU spectrum.

Competitiveness Scholars will receive their recognition at the HBCU week conference during the Initiative’s Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards luncheon ceremony on September 9.


Little Rock- Paola Vasquez, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock- Kyra Rattler, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Pine Bluff- Angelique Cooper, Wiley College, Marshall, Texas


Miami- Angela Adkins, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina


Hephzibah- Rodesha Elam, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia

Lithonia- Kia Alicia Smith, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Lithonia- Kalyn Black, Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama

Macon- Saxton Keitt, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Riverdale- Aaliyah Buckholts, Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia

Springfield- Denzel Walls, Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina


Chicago- Carvell Garrett, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio


Alexandria- Morgan Mallory, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge- Christian King, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Marrero- Trezell Raga, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

New Orleans- Alicia Hoey, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana


Columbia- Diane Ijoma, Howard University, Washington, D.C.


Columbus- Makayela Bouldes, Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi

Crystal Springs- Erienne Lewis, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Itta Bena- Destiney Sharkey, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Mississippi

Jackson- Adrianna Chambers, Hinds Community College-Utica, Utica, Mississippi

Louisville- Haley McHenry, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi


Vicksburg- Jasmine King, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi


Las Vegas- Shayna Espy, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana

Las Vegas- Makhaela French, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia


Fayetteville-Kiante Bennett, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fayetteville- Tenecious Underwood, Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina

New Bew- Lyndon Bowen, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina


Harrisburg- Elisabeth Bellevue, Lincoln University, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania


Charleston- Kenton Kelley, Morris College, Sumter, South Carolina

Edgefield- Desmond Rowe, Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina

Pinewood-Sky Harvin, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina


Chattanooga- KaDarius Scott, Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee

Memphis- Angelika Gilbert, Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee

Memphis- Mariah Rhodes, Tennessee State University, Memphis, Tennessee

Nashville- Anyah Gilmore-Jones, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee


Dallas- Ayanna Brown, Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana

DeSoto- Sidney McLaurin, Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Houston- Nicholas Caldwell, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Houston- Rachel Gentry, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

San Antonio- Catherine Cantu, Saints Phillips College, San Antonio, Texas


Dumfries- Tariq Edwards, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Virginia Beach- Destiny Hodges, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia


Benin- Honour Oluwatemlorun Adewumi, Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas


Milwaukee- Jalicya Lowery, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama






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