Five students who attend historically Black colleges and universities in the region have been named 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Forty-four students — undergraduate, graduate, professional and international — from 33 HBCUs across the country were named HBCU Competitiveness Scholars, the initiative’s highest achievement.

“These students are fine examples of the talent and vitality found at America’s HBCUs,” Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative, said in a written statement.

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“This recognition heightens expectations for scholars to continue making meaningful contributions to our nation,” he added. “I am confident they will deliver.”

Students applied for the honor and were chosen based on their academic achievements, campus and civic involvement, and entrepreneurial ethos. Each student also had to be nominated and endorsed by their school’s president.

Throughout the upcoming academic year, all Competitiveness Scholars will take part in virtual events hosted by federal and non-federal organizations, where they will explore and exchange ideas and share best practices around leadership, professional development and career pathways.

The scholars typically assemble during the annual National HBCU Week Conference. However, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, scholars will not be able to convene in Washington, D.C., for the national recognition program in the fall. Plans are underway for online recognition and virtual campaigns to ensure the scholars receive their acknowledgement during the 2020 Virtual HBCU Week Conference.

The scholars are:

Kevin Mwangi, Cheyney UniversityKevin Mwangi, 19, of Easton, Pennsylvania, is a sophomore at Cheyney University.

He is majoring in business administration management and has aspirations to make an impact on a grand scale through businesses, resources, voice and abilities. His goal is to become a philanthropist to make the world a better place.

Mwangi is a member of Cheyney’s Keystone Honors Academy.

“Representing an HBCU Competitiveness Scholar is an opportunity I’m grateful for,” Mwangi said. “I believe being at the first HBCU provides you with all the opportunities and resources at your disposal. Being a Cheyney student is an experience that is special and unique.”

Kiyana Roberts, Cheyney UniversityKiyana Roberts, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey, is a senior at Cheyney University.

She is a first-generation college student and is majoring in hotel, restaurant and tourism management with a minor in recreation and leisure management. Her goal is to become a regional manager for a multinational hotel company and eventually operate entire hotel chains.

Roberts was named the 47th Miss Cheyney University for the 2019-20 academic year. She also holds key positions in various chapters and associations at Cheyney.

“I look forward to joining a cohort of phenomenal individuals as we utilize our unique skills to ensure HBCUs and their students are well represented in higher education across the nation,” Roberts said.

Jalen Scott-Davis, Lincoln UniversityJalen Scott-Davis, 20, of Philadelphia, is a senior at Lincoln University.

He is majoring in finance, and he is interested in working for the federal Department of Energy or the Department of Transportation.

Scott-Davis has been involved with student government since his freshman year and is currently a student senator.

He is member of the National Association of Black Accountants, a volunteer with the Office of Alumni Relations and a resident adviser.

“I’m truly honored to have this opportunity,” Scott-Davis said. “I’m excited about participating in the workshops and conference.”

Corban Weatherspoon, Delaware State UniversityCorban Weatherspoon, 21, of Bear, Delaware, is a senior at Delaware State University.

He is majoring in physics and engineering with a minor in mathematics, and he plans to go on to graduate school to study the intersection of engineering and business. He wants to be a part of community education programs, as well.

Weatherspoon has been the president of the Men of Color Alliance, a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of the DSU Honors program.

“When I found out about the application, I found the requirements of entrepreneurial ethos and leadership inside the community lined up with what I was already doing,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s an honor to represent the state and the university as a Competitiveness Scholar.”

Tanysha Young, Lincoln UniversityTanysha Young, 20, of Windsor, Connecticut, is a senior at Lincoln University.

She is majoring in business information technology and management.

Young is the vice president of external affairs of the Student Government Association and the secretary of Generation Action, a college affiliate organization under Planned Parenthood. She is also a member of National Council of Negro Women.

“I’m excited and completely honored to be named a Competitiveness Scholar,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to networking with different business leaders and working with students from various HBCUs.”

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