Drake State student honored by White House as HBCU Scholar

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This year’s HBCU Scholar Asia Jefferson (left) and 2021 honoree Michelle Dees (right) both represented Drake State as HBCU Scholars.

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities announced its ninth cohort of HBCU Scholars Friday, recognizing 86 students for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

Among those HBCU Scholars is Asia Jefferson, a student at Drake State Community & Technical College in Huntsville.

What it means to be an HBCU Scholar

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HBCU Scholar and Drake State student Asia Jefferson will serve as an ambassador of the school. (Drake State Community & Technical College)

Asia Jefferson, a computer and information systems student, has been a Dean’s List student at Drake State multiple semesters, and joins Michelle Dees, a 2021 HBCU Scholar, as Drake State students to receive the honor.

HBCU Scholars were selected from a competitive pool of more than 350 students. Applications also required the signature of their HBCU president or designated HBCU faculty, adding a level of prestige to this application process.

Over the course of an academic school year, HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. They will be offered training and cross-university networking opportunities. Scholars will also have an opportunity to work on issues specifically related to the HBCU community and participate in national and regional events with professionals from a wide range of disciplines.

“The HBCU Scholars announced today have dedicated themselves to their learning and exemplify the talent that our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have nurtured for generations. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting these leaders and I cannot wait to learn from them while they serve as ambassadors for the White House Initiative and their institutions.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

HBCU Scholars will also be invited to the 2022 HBCU Week National Annual Conference, on September 20-23 in Washington, D.C. During the conference, they will participate in sessions designed to engage a spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation, and personal and professional development. Most importantly, scholars will have opportunities to engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talent.

Partnership with NASA

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Through the Mini MITTIC program students will partner in developing ideas to commercialize technology derived from NASA intellectual property. (NASA’s Johnson Space Center via Facebook)

A key feature of the HBCU Scholar Program is a partnership with NASA to foster innovation and opportunity for the cohorts. This partnership with NASA makes the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Innovation Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC), “Mini MITTIC” part of the HBCU Scholar Program.

Through the Mini MITTIC program students will partner in developing ideas to commercialize technology derived from NASA intellectual property. Scholars will have the opportunity to present their IP ideas during the National HBCU Week Conference in September.

“The goal with Mini MITTIC is to provide the HBCU Scholars with an authentic experience while ensuring they leave with the foundational tools to utilize NASA intellectual property to create their own business concept and participate in the full MITTIC competition.”

Misti Moore, NASA’s Johnson Space Center MUREP Lead & MITTIC Activity Manager

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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