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Taylon Owens, a chemical engineering senior at Prairie View A&M University, is one of more than 80 students recognized as ambassadors by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, an annual program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Currently enrolled at 54  historically Black colleges and universities, the HBCU scholars were selected from a pool of over 200 students who submitted completed applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and letter of recommendation. Applications also required the signature of their university president, adding a level of prestige to this application process.

“The HBCU Scholars announced all have demonstrated remarkable dedication to their learning and exemplify the talent that our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have nurtured for generations,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement. “The students who hold this honor are committed to creating a more just and equitable society through their civic engagement. They are leaders and change-makers in their communities, and I cannot wait to learn from them as they serve as ambassadors both for the White House Initiative and their institutions of higher education.”

According to Prairie View, during the 2021-22 academic year, Owens and Raven Hollis, a biology major with minors in chemistry and health, will participate in events, webinars, and web chats with the White House Initiative staff and other professionals from a range of disciplines.

“This recognition serves as an affirmation to my desire to serve my community,” Owens told Prairie View A&M. “It will allow me to serve as a liaison between students and the exciting opportunities that the initiative has to offer with hopes of addressing the inequities that have historically plagued minority and marginalized communities.”

The scholars will also be invited to attend the 2021 National HBCU Week Conference workshops on leadership, professional development, HBCU excellence, and workforce development.

The 54 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) include more than  10 with ABET-accredited engineering schools, such as Alabama A&M, Jackson State, Hampton, Florida A&M, Southern A&M, Morgan State, Howard, Norfolk State, and North Carolina A&T.

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