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White House names 2 UMES students 'HBCU All-Stars'

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    HBCU All-stars Chanel Banks - So-Jin ParkWASHINGTON, D.C. - (Feb. 11, 2014) - Two University of Maryland Eastern Shore students are among 75 undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the inaugural class of "HBCU All-Stars" selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

    Senior Chanel Banks of Silver Spring, Md. and So-Jin Park, a sophomore from Salisbury, were picked for "their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement."

    Park, a chemistry major and member of the Richard A. Henson Honors Program, said she sent in an application because she thought it might be a way to pay back with publicity the institution that provided her an academic scholarship.

    Banks, a rehabilitation services major, said "this honor means you can do whatever you want - if you apply yourself. I feel blessed because it took a while for me to start believing in myself."

    The HBCU All-Stars, who represent 62 institutions, were chosen from 445 students who submitted applications that included a transcript, resume, essay and recommendation, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

    The agency said the All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative by "providing outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource."

    UMES is one of 10 institutions with two honorees; Howard University has three.

    "Engaging with the next generation of leaders, who will graduate from HBCUs and go on to make meaningful contributions to society, is crucial to the success of our community, our country and our global competitiveness," said George Cooper, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

    "These 75 students … have demonstrated a commitment to both their own academic achievement and (are) making a difference in their communities," said Cooper, who will visit UMES in April. "We look forward to working with them as partners in advancing President Obama's college completion goal."     

    Over the course of the next year -- through social media and their relationships with community-based organizations -- the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.

    In addition, the 45 women and 30 men will participate in regional events and web chats with Ivory Toldson, deputy director of the White House Initiative, other Initiative staff and professionals from a range of disciplines. They will also have opportunities to engage with other scholars to showcase individual and collective talents across the HBCU community.

     Bill Robinson, director, public relations, (410) 621-2355