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Nikki Giovanni Named PVAMU’s 2021-2022 Toni Morrison Writer-in-Residence

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One of the most celebrated and revered African American poets, Nikki Giovanni, has been named the PVAMU 2021-2022 Writer-in-Residence in the Toni Morrison Writing Program. The appointment will officially begin with a virtual series taking place September 27 – 29.

Nikki Giovanni

Ms. Giovanni has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award. Named a “Living Legend” by Oprah Winfrey, her diverse body of work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, nonfiction essays, and children’s literature.

Giovanni’s early work gained attention as part of the Black Arts Movement; she was called the “Poet of the Black Revolution” because of her forceful and passionate writing about civil rights. Her varied activism has included providing support for other African American women writers. Giovanni currently serves as a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University.

Established by PVAMU President Ruth Simmons, The Toni Morrison Writing Program seeks to bring visibility to African American writing in the literary canon. Led by Provost Emerita and Professor E. Johanne Thomas-Smith, the program will feature writers reading from their works, conducting masterclasses, teaching, and mentoring other writers. The program will also focus on opportunities to develop the literary interests and talents of young writers. Components include a partnership with area high school English departments, an annual writing contest for K-12 students, and elementary school readings accompanied by informal book discussions with the author.

About Prairie View A&M University: Designated an institution of “the first class” in the Texas Constitution, Prairie View A&M University is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. With an established reputation for producing engineers, nurses, and educators, PVAMU offers baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degree programs through eight colleges and schools. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service. For more information regarding PVAMU, visit www.pvamu.edu.

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Turning HBCU Students into Medical Doctors

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According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 8% of medical students and 5% of physicians are Black and African American. In an effort to address this disparity, the American Heart Association, the leading public health nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has announced that 52 students from 23 academic institutions have been selected to participate in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars program.

The Association’s HBCU Scholars are enrolled in biomedical or other health sciences programs at their respective institutions. Through their participation in the Scholars program, they will study how the social determinants of health and other health disparities impact underserved communities. They will also participate in scientific research projects and present their findings at the end of the program.

“Since 2015, the American Heart Association HBCU Scholars program has helped change the trajectory of dozens of under-represented students in science and medicine by fostering their talent, preparedness and growth to pursue careers in biomedical science” said American Heart Association volunteer president Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, who is the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “As champions for health care quality and access for all, the American Heart Association is committed to building the pipeline of diverse persons in medicine and empowering the next generation of research and health care professionals.”

The program is funded by a grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, which also supports the American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) Scholars Program.

“This program plays an essential role in supporting the pipeline of Black students who will increase representation and equity in the health care field,” said Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager, Quest for Health Equity, Quest Diagnostics. “We are proud to support this next cohort of HBCU Scholars with the American Heart Association as it provides them with enriching academic and networking experiences to help them excel in their career paths.”

Accepted students are selected based on their GPA, completion of a formal application, which includes an essay, and an official recommendation from their school. During the program, scholars are paired with a mentor who works in health care or is currently performing their own relevant scientific research. They will also participate in a leadership development program and are awarded a financial stipend to help cover education-related expenses. More about the American Heart Association’s HBCU Scholars initiative can be found here.

Clinical research studies published in the American Journal of Public Health suggest that patients of color may experience uncomfortable interactions and communication barriers with their health care providers due to lack of diversity and face implicit and unconscious bias from physicians and other health care professionals. These barriers, in turn, can lower patients’ trust in the overall health care system and as a result, these patients may not complete prescribed treatments or follow-up on recommended care. Addressing this issue is a vital component of the HBCU Scholars program.

Each year, the Association seeks applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors from historically underrepresented communities who are currently enrolled in an HBCU and are interested in pursuing a professional degree in biomedical and health sciences.

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SPC Placed on Top List of HBCUs in Texas

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St. Philip’s College was named #4 on the Best Historically Black Colleges & Universities in Texas 2022 list by University Headquarters. SPC, the top two-year institution ranked on the state list, is the nation’s only college federally designated as an HBCU and Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). The top three Texas HBCUs, by ranking, are Prairie View A&M University, Huston-Tillotson University (Austin) and Texas Southern University (Houston).

HBCUs are an important part of the higher education landscape. These institutions have been around for generations, with some that predate the Civil War. St. Philip’s was founded by the Episcopal Church in 1898 to educate girls who were the daughters and granddaughters of emancipated African Americans.

The college ranked #46 on the national Top 50 Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities list. On the national list, SPC is the highest-listed two-year institution.

Many HBCUs have survived years of underfunding and segregation. Initially an Episcopal school, SPC went public during the Great Depression when diocesan funding diminished. Under the leadership of Saint Artemisia Bowden, who served at the institution’s helm for 52 years, the school persisted and grew into a community college. She was named a Holy Woman by the Episcopal Church posthumously in 2015 to recognize her work in education, the church and the community.

St. Philip’s is the only HBCU in San Antonio and the most western public HBCU in the U.S.

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Dark & Lovely and the College Gurl Foundation Announce New Scholarships for Black, Female College Students

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In Celebration of Dark and Lovely’s 50th Anniversary, 50 book scholarships will be awarded to young, Black women pursuing college degrees

 Dark & Lovely, as part of its Building Beautiful Futures initiative, in partnership with The College Gurl Foundation, has announced that applications are now available for the Building Beautiful Futures book scholarship program. Building Beautiful Futures is a multi-year commitment that will help bring educational and career equity to Black, female college students and young professionals via scholarships, mentorship and career coaching opportunities. Applications are open now through November 30. To apply, please click HERE.

The scholarships are open to Black women with the following qualifications:

  • Must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university in the U.S.
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Must be a U.S. resident or citizen.
  • Students who are academically ambitious, leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, and community volunteers.

“The Dark & Lovely partnership is truly a dream come true! I am forever grateful for my journey of hard work and sacrifices as this opportunity is the definition of building a beautiful future,” stated Jessica L. Brown, President of The College Gurl Foundation. “Together, we are championing for education and sprinkling our black girl magic to close the opportunity gap for generations to come!”

Actress, producer and Dark & Lovely brand ambassador Storm Reid is an ambassador for the program and is helping to spread the word about this scholarship to young women who may be eligible. “College is difficult enough, and worrying about how to pay for it doesn’t make it any better. This scholarship is an opportunity to alleviate a part of that financial burden and help young, Black women work towards achieving their dreams.”

As Dark & Lovely celebrates 50 years of serving Black women and their beauty needs, they remain committed to closing the opportunity gap through scholarships, mentorship and career coaching opportunities to recent graduates and those pursuing four-year degrees. Closing the opportunity gap, which refers to the conditions and obstacles that people face which impact their opportunities in life, will create the path to success for Black women. To learn more on how to:

  • Apply For a Building Beautiful Futures Scholarship, Click HERE
    • This $10,000 scholarship is renewable over four years
  • Participate in our Mentorship Program
    • Follow DARK & LOVELY for our schedule of quarterly mentorship masterclasses focused on life and career coaching
  • Be The Change
    • Become a Mentor or Mentee and Inspire others by sharing your mentorship story using #DARKANDLOVELYBBF

About Dark & Lovely

Dark & Lovely, founded in 1972, was created to help Black women express and embrace their individual styles. As one of the first brands to celebrate the Black consumer, for 50 years Dark & Lovely has been known for offering innovative products and technology made exclusively for Black Women to address their specific beauty needs. As a subsidiary of L’Oréal USA, Dark & Lovely continues to unveil breakthrough hair innovations for women of color. For more information, visit www.darkandlovely.com.

About College Gurl Foundation

Since 2017, The College Gurl Foundation (CGF) has been educating students with a focus on minority students in the Washington Metropolitan area who come from economically disadvantaged households.

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