Anitra Jackson, a Keystone Honors Academy (KHA) Scholar and Miss Cheyney University 2016, is the only Pennsylvania college student selected to serve as an ambassador for the White House Initiative on HBCUs(Historically Black Colleges and Universities) as a 2016 HBCU All-Star Student. The US Department of Education made the announcement today. Jackson and 72 other students beat out hundreds of other students across the nation, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands for the prestigious honor.
“I’m speechless. It feels absolutely amazing,” the 19-year-old exclaimed. “I was so enthusiastic about this upcoming year as Miss Cheyney, but now that I hear this news as well, it just makes me even more excited.”
The third class of HBCU All-Stars is comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Each was selected because of their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.
“During the course of one academic school year, the 73 All-Stars will distinguish themselves as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and as noble ambassadors of their respective institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The Initiative is looking forward to working with this third class of All-Stars and is confident this opportunity will allow the Initiative to meaningfully connect with HBCU students and advance academic excellence at their schools.”
In addition to being an ambassador to Cheyney, the nation’s 1st HBCU, over the next year, Jackson will provide outreach opportunities and communications to fellow Cheyney students about the value of education and encourage them to use the Initiative as a networking resource. She’ll use social media and network with community-based organizations in order to get the word out about proven practices that support all young people in realizing their educational and career goals. According to the US Department of Education, the All-Stars will also participate in the White House HBCU Week Conference, national and regional events, and webinars with Initiative staff and other professionals on a range of disciplines that support a spirit of engagement and personal and professional development.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting the other students in the program and networking with them in order to gain new and improved leadership skills that I can implement at Cheyney. I hope to make connections and gain new life experiences. I also want to make Cheyney University proud of me and show my fellow students that they can achieve their goals despite any obstacles in their way. Just because you come from a small school or town, does not mean that you are inferior.”
The youngest of three girls from Boothwyn, PA has a very busy year ahead. The junior is double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics, is a member of the Cross Country, Tennis and Track and Field teams, the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the Keystone Honors Council, the Student Athletic Academic Council, an honors mentor and is also an Executive Board Member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. How will she juggle it all?
“With time management,” she proclaims. “I always keep a planner and use the schedule on my phone to keep me on track. I also have the help of my advisors, family, and friends.”
“We’re looking forward to working with this new class of HBCU All-Stars,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Education and Acting Executive Director White House Initiative on HBCUs Kim Hunter Reed. “Our goal is to provide a unique opportunity for these talented students that exposes them to critical national conversations and thought leaders. No doubt they will make their mark and represent their campuses well.”
Jackson follows in the footsteps of Ahn-yea Graham who, in 2014, was one of first class of 75 White House HBCU All-Stars and the only PA student. Like Jackson, Graham was a KHA scholar and an over-achieving student leader at Cheyney, serving as Student Government President and, later, as an Intern at the U.S. Department of Labor. Both took advantage of opportunities offered by Cheyney, including a free ride in the Keystone Honors Academy which makes getting an education less stressful when you take financial obligations out of the equation.
“I have been afforded numerous opportunities such as the opportunity to present at the PASSHE (PA State System of Higher Education) Honors Conference, attend the annual HBCU Leadership for Queens and Kings Konnection Conference in New Orleans, LA, attend professional development workshops, volunteer in outreach programs, and most importantly, gain real work experience though my summer internship at Temple University where I studied the Gold Synthesis of Nanoparticles in an effort for researchers to one day use them in the healthcare industry.”
Jackson hopes to be a computer engineer one day. For now, though, she is anxious to represent her University in the nation’s capital, at the White House, and serve as an Ambassador on the campus that she loves.
“I chose Cheyney because I wanted to learn more about African American culture along with learning about the extraordinary accomplishments of African Americans,” she explains. “I love the family atmosphere at Cheyney and that the professors and staff members are so personable and eager to help you.”
Anitra Jackson and the 2016 All-Star Class will work together and as a group and network with one another to achieve their goals. Visit our 2016 HBCU All-Stars article to see the complete list of 73 students selected by the White House.
Source: Cheyney University Office of Communications