HBCU Grads to Watch 2017
Keep your eyes on this next class of leaders
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long been incubators for African-American talent and leaders. If the recent grads featured below are any indication the HBCU legacy of fostering black excellence will continue long into the future.
Join us in celebrating members of the Class of 2017 as they share how they view the future, post-grad plans, lessons learned and why HBCUs matter more than ever.
Representing: Dillard University Blue Devils
Senior Superlatives: Melton Foundation Junior Fellow
- HBCU Love: The family atmosphere I experienced on my HBCU campus is priceless. It was evident all throughout my years of undergraduate that the administrators and professors at Dillard University wanted to see all students become successful and they took all of the steps necessary to ensure that we are able to graduate on time and with opportunities.
- Post-Grad Plans: [I’ll be] starting my career as a marketing division sales advisor in the energy sector and giving back to my community by fulfilling my philanthropic duties. One of my most important obligations is to pay it forward.
- Lessons Learned: Living life on my own terms means making daily progress as I build towards being the best version of myself while helping others along the way.
- Hope for the Future: The fact that women of color are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States has me excited about being black in America right now.
Ezekiel Ayo Bello
Representing: Florida A&M University (FAMU) Rattlers
Senior Superlatives: Principle research investigator at Collman (UPenn) and Portues (Stanford) labs
- HBCU Love: Attending an HBCU has given me a spirit of resilience and determination. … at FAMU we're all one big family, constantly looking out for one another is our mission. Being a part of the /’FAMUly” continues to remind me of the importance of teamwork.
- Post-Grad Plans: I have accepted a position at the National Institute of Health. I will be working on correcting mutations that encode for chronic immune deficiencies.
- Lessons Learned: Living life on my own terms means three things to me: staying focused on my objectives and goals and not being distracted by others’ accomplishments/downfalls; being tenacious about my goals and never taking no for an answer, especially from individuals who don't believe it can be done; and staying true to myself and my capabilities.
- Making Tech Work: My dream is to one day integrate biomedical research with what I see as a doctor in the hospital. Combining the two will allow me to study first hand the mechanisms that lead to certain disease states. Cutting-edge technology will play a pivotal role, in order for me to effectively find and target these diseases.
Representing: Fisk University Bulldogs
Senior Superlatives: Student Government Association President
- HBCU Love: My HBCU experience taught me how to be unapologetically black; to have pride in my worth and my knowledge.
- Post-Grade Plans: I have accepted [an] offer with Caterpillar Finance, headquartered in Nashville.
- Hope for the Future: Being an educated twenty-two year old black male with a degree is what excites me about being black in America.
- Making Tech Work: Staying up-to-date with technological trend will make me more competitive as a young professional and keep me aware of its impact on the business environment on a local, national, and global level.
Jeaiza Maria Quiñones
Representing: Prairie View A&M University Panthers
Senior Superlatives: Miss Prairie View A&M University 2016–2017
- HBCU Love: Until I set foot on the campus of an HBCU, I did not know what it was to not only accept my race, but to embrace it and fall in love with it.
- Post-Grad Plans: I hope to eventually run public relations for an HBCU or become a news anchor on a major daytime television show. I love everything about media and public relations, and I think more representation for African American women is needed desperately.
- Hope for the Future: It’s beautiful to see my generation of Black Americans truly work toward loving themselves and living holistic lifestyles. It’s something that did not feel possible when I was a child.
- Making Tech Work: I believe technology will be the difference between my dreams being “drafts” and “final products.” It will be the tool I use to brand myself, to make my mark and to promote myself as someone who is worthy of a platform.
Representing: Howard University Bison
Senior Superlatives: Tsinghua University (Schwarzman Scholar)
- HBCU Love: These past four years have allowed me to experience, firsthand, the passion and intelligence that drives black excellence; from attending classes with successful entrepreneurs to walking on The Yard with a Rhodes and Fulbright scholar, simply existing among other determined black students is extremely empowering.
- Post-Grad Plans: I got accepted into a program called Schwarzman Scholars. So I will be attending Tsinghua University in Beijing, China on a full scholarship, where I will receive a masters in Global Affairs and a Concentration in Public Policy.
- Lessons Learned: Living life on my own terms means taking responsibility for the decisions I make, [the] successes or failures, and taking ownership of my future.
- Making Tech Work: My dream is to create sustainable solutions for those overlooked and underserved, specifically people experiencing homelessness. This is an extremely complex issue that will require an in-depth understanding to determine how to provide a solution; technology will absolutely play a part.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.