Philander Smith College Student Recognized as 2019-2020 White House Competitiveness Scholar

Little Rock native, Paola Vazquez, Among Scholars Recognized by the White House

Little Rock, Ark. (June 20, 2019) ---  The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has named Paola Vazquez, a junior at Philander Smith College, among 44 students from 34 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) as a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars – the Initiative’s highest student recognition.

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Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for successfully preparing to compete for top opportunities that improve long-term outcomes. Each was nominated and endorsed by their institution President, which itself is an honorable mention. Johnathan Holifield, Executive Director of the Initiative, said “the Initiative’s watchword is competitiveness and these students are fine examples of the depth and diversity of competitive talent at our institutions. We are honored to recognize them.”

Vazquez, who is a native of Little Rock, is majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. An honors student and active participant on campus, she plans to pursue graduate school and study computer engineering.

The 2019 scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students chosen based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit. In the course of their one-year term, Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and institutional achievement, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success.

“We’re looking forward to working with and learning from with this new cohort of HBCU Competitiveness Scholars,” said Elyse Jones, the Initiative’s Coordinator for the Scholars Program. “We have lots of unique, fun and interactive opportunities planned for this year that will provide new opportunities for these representatives, exposing them to critical national conversations and powerful thought leaders.”

Competitiveness Scholars will assemble during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference, September 8-11 at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel – the theme of which is Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance. (I like the periods vs. commas – let me know your thoughts). They will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership, wealth creation and management and civic engagement and will be encouraged to seek out ongoing personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Competitiveness Scholars will receive their recognition at the HBCU week conference during the Initiative’s Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards luncheon ceremony on September 9.