The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) has recently named Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) doctoral candidate Terrance McNeil as one of 73 2016-HBCU All-Stars.
McNeil, a fourth-year doctoral candidate studying educational leadership, was selected from more than 300 students from 24 states. FAMU has consistently been represented on the list of ambassadors who are tasked with providing outreach opportunities and communicating with other students about the value of both education and the Initiative as a networking source.
This is a duty that McNeil is more than prepared to fulfill. As the national vice president of the Holmes Scholar Executive Board and Graduate Feeder Program coordinator in the FAMU School of Graduate Studies and Research, McNeil is already serving HBCU students through his everyday work.
“Various issues that I would like to address as an HBCU All-star are issues that affect HBCUs nationwide such as enrollment and funding student debt,” McNeil said. “At FAMU specifically, I have some additional initiatives I’d like to work on this year that involve increasing the amount of educators we’re drawing into the field in terms of student enrollment in College of Education programs.”
According to McNeil, it is his passion for education and policy making that led him to apply to be an HBCU All-Star. While attending the National Summit on Teacher Diversity, McNeil said he was able to network with representatives from the White House Initiative on HBCUs and this sparked his interest in the program.
“Being the national vice president of the Holmes Scholar Executive Board led to an invitation to the Summit held by the United States Department of Education,” McNeil said. “Provost Marcella David and Dean David Jackson, Ph.D. supported my attendance there which was really special because I was one of only three people from an HBCU.”
For McNeil, opportunities such as these are a large part of the reason he is passionate about participating in the HBCU All-Star program. He explained that attending more national and regional conferences through the program will allow him to represent the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the College of Education, and FAMU on a large scale. While doing so, McNeil said he plans to use this platform to network with HBCUs across the country that may be interested in partnering with FAMU in the future.
“As the Graduate Feeder Program coordinator, I think this is a great opportunity to develop more relationships with other HBCUs. Right now, out of the 40 partner schools in the program there are only a few HBCUs. One of my major goals this year as an All-Star will be to change that,” McNeil said.