This September, 44 students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) around the United States will meet in the nation’s capital to be recognized as the 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars. The acknowledgement is the highest honor of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Among the group will be Shanya Espy, a sophomore marketing major at Grambling State University and a student mentor with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA). Through LOSFA’s Aspire to Inspire (
) Comprehensive Mentoring Program, Espy is regularly in schools around North Louisiana, mentoring middle and high school girls.
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“When I applied, I was like I don’t know how this is going to go, but I’ll go for it,” said Espy, about completing the application for the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars honor.
Espy says she found out about the opportunity from a list of scholarships that LOSFA sends out, specifically for student mentors and their high school mentees.
LOSFA regularly posts national and state-wide scholarships for students on its social media platforms.
“I was going through emails and I said, ‘Let me apply for this one.”
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Education, scholars were selected based on academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit.
Each student was also nominated by the president of their institution.
“I’m super excited!” Espy said. “The first time I went to D.C. was for a national mentoring summit with LOSFA – this is another opportunity y ’all have brought to me.”
During their one-year term, the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars will learn about best practices in leadership, professional development, HBCU competitiveness and workforce development.
Espy says this process has taught her there are amazing opportunities within reach – something she wants to instill in her mentees to learn as well.
“I always tell my students I’m their example…I can show them the best options,” she said. “Experiences like this help them [to] see what’s out there. It teaches me to continue to look for chances for growth, [and] it shows them to always look for more.”
The 2019 scholars will attend the National HBCU Week Conference in September. This year’s theme is
Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance.
For more information on the
White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities click