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Bulldog News

Two SC State juniors named White House HBCU Scholars

Author: Sam Watson, Director of University Relations|Published: July 20, 2023|All News, Student News

Holmes and Jordan
Kenard Holmes and Victoria Jordan

Kenard Holmes and Victoria Jordan were selected for their achievements in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – South Carolina State University students Kenard Holmes and Victoria Jordan are among 102 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) recently named 2023 White House HBCU Scholars.

Holmes, a rising junior from Blythewood, South Carolina, is a business management major at SC State. Jordan, a rising junior from Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a biology major with a minor in chemistry.

“On behalf of the entire SC State family, I congratulate Mr. Holmes and Ms. Jordan on earning this important national distinction from the White House,” SC State President Alexander Conyers said. “Both students are fine examples of the intellectual promise, leadership and determination present in SC State’s student body.

“We already have taken great pride in their numerous successes during their time on campus, and I look forward to seeing how they grow in the years to come,” Conyers said.

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity announced its ninth cohort of HBCU Scholars, recognizing undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from 29 different states and countries for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, civic engagement and more.

“Our 2023 HBCU Scholars are talented students who embody the culture of excellence and inclusion championed by our nation ’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release. “On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education and everyone across the Biden-Harris Administration, I congratulate each of our 2023 HBCU scholars on this prestigious recognition and thank them for their commitment to serving their communities.

“I’m thrilled to see the HBCU Scholars program continue to expand its reach and provide such exciting professional development, networking, and educational opportunities to some of our nation’s brightest and most promising young leaders,” Cardona said.

Over the course of an academic school year, HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the U.S. Department of Education, and their respective HBCUs.

Holmes and Jordan are among five White House HBCU Scholars in South Carolina, with the others representing Voorhees University, Allen University and Denmark Technical College.

The two SC State students formed a friendship soon after they arrived on campus in 2021 as a result of their work together in several campus organizations, including the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College and Golden Key International Honor Society. As freshmen, both resided in Battiste Hall.

As sophomores, they were inducted as Clyburn Scholars. Holmes and Jordanalso served as Mr. and Miss Golden Key International Honors Society, as they are both in the top 15% of their class.

Kenard Holmes

Kenard Holmes
Kenard Holmes
At SC State, Holmes has embedded himself in campus traditions and groups. In addition to the Honors College membership, he serves as a Student Orientation Leader (SOL) and a Career Center ambassador. He holds membership in the 101 Black Men peer mentoring organization, serving as president, and the Knowledge is Power Mentoring organization.

In the Fall 2022 Semester, the Beaufort native was part of the first-place team in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) 2022 Stanley Black & Decker Innovation Challenge, which came with a $10,000 prize. As one of four students on the team, he received $2,500. He has interned with First Citizens Bank and Tyson Foods.

“I am honored to be a White House HBCU Scholar and represent my university, family, friends, and organizations,” he said. “My journey may not be the most traditional, but I wear it with pride, knowing that every step has shaped me into the man I am today. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to positively impacting the world.”

Victoria Jordan

Jordan serves as the Miss Junior Elect 2023-2024 on SC State’s Royal Court. She is the newly appointed president of the Health Professions Society in the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences as well as the president of the Dedicated. Ladies. Living. Strong. (D.O.L.L.S) campus organization.

Victoria Jordan
Victoria Jordan

Jordan has served the 1890 Research and Extension Program as a research intern, the Student Government Association, NAACP and the Campus Activities Board. She was named the SC State University Foundation’s 2023 Shining Star Scholar for the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Transportation last spring.
In the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, Jordan is U54 SC CADRE Scholar. The U54 SC CADRE program is a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and is funded through a National Institute of Health Research Grant.

In 2022 she was one of six presenters at MUSC’s annual LOWVELO Trainee Presentation Symposium in October 2022. Jordan conducted pancreatic cancer research as an intern at MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center over the previous summer. Jordan specializes in studying pancreatic cancer and the tumor microenvironment. Her work will be published in a scientific publication later this fall, as she is a co-author through the Dr. Michael Ostrowski Lab at MUSC. Miss Jordan is the youngest African American female from MUSC and SC State to be published with a significant scientific discovery.

More about White House HBCU Scholars

According to the White House Initiative on HBCUs, students in the program are encouraged to lift their communities, unite others around student success, work to strengthen our democracy and grow our economy. HBCU Scholars will be offered professional and personal development, and cross-university networking opportunities with an opportunity to explore, discuss, and improve issues specifically related to the HBCU community.

The 2023 HBCU Scholars are the largest cohort since the program’s inception in 2014 and represent a record number of institutions, with the HBCU participation rate now over 70 percent.

Enrolled at 70 HBCUs, this group of HBCU Scholars was selected from a competitive pool of over 300 applicants. 

A critical component of the HBCU Scholar Program is a partnership with NASA to foster innovation and opportunity for the cohorts. This partnership with NASA makes the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Innovation Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC), “Mini MITTIC” part of the HBCU Scholar Program. Through the Mini MITTIC program, HBCU Scholars will partner with one another to develop ideas to commercialize technology derived from NASA intellectual property that can improve their campus and surrounding communities.

HBCU Scholars will have the opportunity to present their IP ideas in-person at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland during the National HBCU Week Conference in September.

“NASA’s MUREP is thrilled, once again, to engage with the White House Initiative on HBCUs to enhance the learning experience for this year’s cohort of White House Scholars,” said MUREP manager Torry Johnson. “We are looking forward to the new ideas that the Scholars develop at the MITTIC Hack-a-thon using NASA’s technology portfolio and our continued overall support of the HBCU community.”

HBCU Scholars will also be invited to the 2023 HBCU Week National Annual Conference, which will be held on September 24-28, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia.

This year’s conference themes are, “Raising the Bar: Forging Excellence Through Innovation & Leadership.” During the conference, HBCU Scholars will participate in conference sessions designed to engage a spirit of innovation, leadership, and personal and professional development. Most importantly, HBCU Scholars will have opportunities to engage with one another, initiative staff and partners all to further showcase their individual and collective talent.

Following the conference HBCU Scholars will be invited to participate in programs, events and monthly master classes designed to enhance HBCU Scholars’ professional development and create greater access to post-graduation opportunities within nonprofit, business, and federal agency partners to ensure that as a nation we remain globally competitive.