The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) has named its first class of 2014 HBCU All-Star recipients, and the prestigious list includes Hampton University Junior Whitney Johnson. The All-Star's were selected from a total of 445 candidates. Those selected were chosen on the basis of their continuous commitment to both academics and being an active participant in their communities. Students were required to submit, along with their applications a resume, essay, and recommendation letter.
Johnson, a public relations major from Surry, Va., says that she is extremely excited, honored and blessed to take part in this program.
"I believe it will open many more doors and create a bigger platform for me to inspire teens and young adults," says Johnson.
For the next year, she and the other All-Stars will serve as White House ambassadors for their HBCU initiative by providing outreach and communication with their fellow students, about the value of education and 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.
In addition, the 45 female and 30 male All-Stars will participate in regional events and web chats with Ivory Toldson, the program's deputy director, other Initiative staff and professionals from a wide range of disciplines. They will also have opportunities to engage with other scholars to showcase individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.
Johnson said her role as an ambassador is yet another way for her to portray HBCUs in a good light. In the near future, she aspires to create a non-profit organization with twin sister Britney Johnson who, too, attends HU. They plan to create a program that caters to urban communities, while also helping to change the mindset and perceptions of society.
Whitney Johnson's advice to anyone interested in the program is, "be proud of your achievements and don't underestimate your abilities. Use your story as your platform and to be humble."
For more information on The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities or to see the full list of the All-Stars please visit ED.gov (75 Students from 62 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Named 2014 HBCU All-Stars).
Daisha Roberts '15