Student's White House Scholars for HBCU Initiative.

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White House Initiative on HBCU's logo

ASU Students Selected as Scholars by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities 

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

Two Alabama State University students have been selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as "HBCU Scholars." The program recognizes undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, civic engagement and more. 

Bruce Taylor of Tuskegee, Ala. and Ashleigh Smith of Atlanta, Ga., were both named as part of the White House Initiative's eighth cohort of students selected for this national honor. The ASU scholars were chosen from an applicant pool of hundreds of students from across the nation. The process required applicants to submit their transcripts and resumes, complete an essay, and get a letter of recommendation. 

"I am very excited for the University having two of its students selected as White House Scholars as part of the Initiative," said Dr. Sabrina Crowder, director of ASU's Office of Career Services, which helped organize the selection process at ASU.  

"Due to COVID 19, the White House has pushed back on our winners going to Washington, DC this September as earlier planned. Now, they will participate in a cyber-conference along with monthly activities with plans to visit the White House in April for an awards ceremony." 


Taylor, a senior in ASU's Computer Information Systems, believes this is part of a plan to help him protect others and the nation. 

"It feels wonderful to be selected for this White House honor that offers me a possibility to be a leader for my peers in cybersecurity," Taylor exclaimed. "My goal in life is to help protect our citizens from cyber-related dangers and issues. I plan on getting a master's in cybersecurity so I may work in safeguarding our nation from threats and helping uplift my community by being employed at such agencies as the FBI, National Security Agency or Homeland Security if possible. Working at either of those would be my life's dream." 

Smith, ASU's other White House Initiative Scholar, is a sophomore in marketing. 

"As just a sophomore now, I am so overwhelmed to learn that I won this national honor as I come back to school this Fall, which puts me on the fast-track," Smith said by phone. "The fun part of the White House Initiative is that it allows me to give back to our ASU community by giving me the chance to host local community events and drives that help better people's lives both on campus and within the Montgomery community." 


Information from the HBCU Scholars program described that over the course of the upcoming academic school year, HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative and their respected schools. The Initiative will provide scholars with information about the value of education as well as networking opportunities.

As ambassadors, the Scholars will be able to benefit from relationships built with community-based organizations, public and private partners, as well as federal leaders who will share practises with the Scholars that support opportunities to achieve enhanced educational and career potential. The current cohort of HBCU Scholars will also participate in national and regional events and monthly classes. Professional development opportunities include helping to identify challenges while providing equitable solutions to barriers that HBCU students face as they enter the workforce. 


Smith believes that the University's attention to detail in educating students in more than just academics is a reason for her selection by the White House. 

"Alabama State University prepared and helped me get this award due to the fact that beyond the wonderful education you receive here, its faculty members also groom you on how to communicate, talk, dress, and present oneself, which when added to the scholarly attention that you receive in the classroom, helps place you above the competition from other schools," said Smith. 

Taylor explained that ASU has helped him lay out a career-path to achieve great things in life. 

"The University has helped educate me in the latest principles of computer systems, as well as prepare me for real life and placed me on the path for excellence," Taylor stated. 

 News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.