Words By: Chelsea Stewart

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has selected a Florida A&M University doctoral candidate as a 2016 HBCU All-Star.

Terrance McNeil was selected amongst 73 students out of 300 from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Virgin Islands. The students were also selected from 63 different HBCUs.

McNeil is a member of the Gamma Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the vice president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the Graduate Feeder Program coordinator in the FAMU School of Graduate Studies and Research.

The All-Stars include undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who have exemplified outstanding accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.

In a statement posted to the U.S. Department of Education’s press page, Kim Hunter Reed, Deputy under Secretary of Education and Acting Executive Director White House Initiative on HBCUs said, “We’re looking forward to working with this new class of HBCU All Stars. Our goal is to provide a unique opportunity for these talented students that expose them to critical national conversations and thought leaders. No doubt they will make their mark and represent their campuses well.”

Throughout the next year, the All-Stars will serve as ambassadors by studying educational leadership, developing outreach opportunities and teaching other students the value of education and networking through the program.

By using social media, fostering relationships with community-based organizations, and sessions with industry professionals, the All-Stars will provide other students with proven practices that support opportunities for people to achieve their educational and career goals.

They will also participate in the White House HBCU Week Conference, national and regional events, and webinars with staff and other professionals on personal and professional development.

“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. 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.” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

McNeil has said that he would like to address issues that affect HBCUs during his time as an All-Star including enrollment and funding student debt. He wants to increase the amount of educators in college of education programs at FAMU specifically and also said he wants to utilize his time as an All-Star to build relationships with other HBCUs that might be interested in partnering with FAMU in the future.

“As the Graduate Feeder Program coordinator, I think this is a great opportunity to develop more relationships with other HBCUs. Right now, out of the 40 partner schools in the program there are only a few HBCUs. One of my major goals this year as an All-Star will be to change that,” McNeil stated.

Last year, two Florida A&M University students, Gilda Brown and Jennifer Smith, were also chosen as HBCU All-Stars.


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