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Bowie State Student Named Ambassador for 2014 White House HBCU Initiative


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Symone Jordan is among 75 students from 62 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who will share her message about education to all young people as a member of the first ever HBCU class. Courtesy photo

Symone Jordan is among 75 students from 62 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who will share her message about education to all young people as a member of the first ever HBCU class. Courtesy photo

Published on: Friday, February 21, 2014

Yevgeniy Trapeznikov, Special to The Sentinel

A Bowie State University student will serve as an ambassador for the White House Initiative throughout 2014.

Symone Jordan, a native of Accokeek, Md., is among 75 students from 62 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who will be getting across her message about education to all young people as a member of the first ever HBCU class.

“Higher education is important to me because it helps me to gain knowledge. With knowledge comes different opportunities, perspectives, and opinions. Possessing knowledge also can offer you better opportunities for the future, allows you to view situations from a holistic perspectives, and is an essential quality for personal growth,” said Jordan, speaking about the value of education.

HBCUs unite 105 institutions in 19 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, established prior to 1964. Some of the schools date back in 1830s and have been providing educational opportunities to African-Americans for more than 150 years. HBCU institutions – ranging from community and small liberal arts colleges to professional schools and research universities – serve more than 300,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually.

WHI on HBCUs was started by President Reagan 1981 as a further development of President Carter’s executive order aimed at “overcoming the effects of discriminatory treatment and to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education.”

The Initiative’s framework has since been institutionally amended by subsequent presidents with the latest renewal of the executive order by president Obama in February 2010, which presently defines five core tasks of the Initiative as follows:

strengthening the capacity of HBCUs to participate in Federal programs;

fostering enduring private-sector initiatives and public-private partnerships while promoting specific areas and centers of academic research and programmatic excellence throughout all HBCUs;

improving the availability, dissemination, and quality of information concerning HBCUs to inform public policy and practice;

sharing administrative and programmatic practices within the HBCU community for the benefit of all; and exploring new ways of improving the relationship between the Federal Government and HBCUs.

Jordan, a senior student of the Bowie State University (BSU) majoring in biology and pursuing double minor degree in psychology and chemistry, was selected by the White House Initiative (WHI) on HBCUs from 445 candidates who submitted their applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and recommendation.

In recognizing their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement, Jordan and her counterparts will provide outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource.

“It is a privilege to announce these students who have demonstrated a commitment to both their own academic achievement and making a difference in their communities, and we look forward to working with them as partners in advancing President Obama’s college completion goal,” said George Cooper, executive director of the WHIHBCUs announcing selection results on February 10.

In the class of 75, named “All-Stars”, Jordan, who plays volleyball and a member in four honor societies, will participate in regional events and web chats with the Initiative staff and professionals from a wide range of disciplines, as well as engage with other scholars to showcase the individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.

Jordan is particularly interested in becoming a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. She also hopes that her medical expertise will help eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities as well as provide premium health care to individuals from underserved communities.

In addition to being named an HBCU All-Star, Jordan is a recipient of a year-long National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship of up to $20,000 and a 2013-2014 Student Ambassador for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which provides scholarships and leadership opportunities for HBCU students.

“Symone Jordan is an outstanding representative of the dedicated, hard-working students at Bowie State University,” said President Mickey L. Burnim. “She has demonstrated remarkable leadership qualities and continues to inspire others to excel in their studies.”

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