Dillard University student Nicole Tinson, Los Angeles, Calif. was one of 75 students nationwide to be recognized by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs) as a 2014 HBCU All-Star. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are being recognized for their achievements in academics, leadership, and civic engagement. This is the first class of HBCU All-Stars to be announced by the organization.
“Engaging with the next generation of leaders who will graduate from HBCUs and go on to make meaningful contributions to society is crucial to the success of our community, our country and our global competitiveness,” said George Cooper, executive director of the WHIHBCUs. “It is a privilege to announce these 75 students who have demonstrated a commitment to both their own academic achievement and making a difference in their communities, and we look forward to working with them as partners in advancing President Obama’s college completion goal.”
Nicole Tinson, political science major and senior class president at Dillard University, was selected from 445 students who submitted completed applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and recommendation. “I am completely humbled and honored to be selected as a White House HBCU Initiative HBCU All-Star,” Tinson said. “I am proud to represent my family and most importantly my university as an ambassador. It took a lot of hard work, but I’m almost at the top… I feel it.” Tinson says she is on a journey to make social change as a student leader.
Last spring, Tinson participated in the Congressional Black Caucus’ Emerging Leaders program. Fewer than two-dozen people were chosen from nearly 900 applicants for the prestigious program, which puts students in internships on Capitol Hill while they take a full slate of courses at George Washington University. Tinson has also received the 2013 Helping Others Pursue Education (HOPE) Scholarship and a fellowship the 2013 Walton-UNCF Education Reform Program.
While at Dillard, she has been active in a number of organizations and social issues including starting an NAACP chapter on campus and hosting events like “Why Your Vote Matters,” which brought political figures and media personalities to campus from New Orleans and throughout Louisiana; serving as keynote speaker for the 21st annual “Take Back the Night” event against violence; organizing a forum about racism and misogyny in hip-hop that featured academicians from across the country as well as a World Aids Day event.
When she’s not studying or leading a campus organization, Tinson spends much of her time doing community service. After Hurricane Isaac virtually destroyed much of Plaquemines Parish, she traveled to the rural community with a group of peers to help a man gut out his house and she spent her Thanksgiving holiday feeding the hungry at a homeless shelter in New Orleans.
According to the announcement from the WHIHBCUs, over the course of the next year, the HBCU All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative by providing outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource. Through social media and their relationships with community-based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential. In addition, the 45 female and 30 male All-Stars will participate in regional events and web chats with Ivory Toldson, deputy director of the WHIHBCUs, other Initiative staff and professionals from a wide range of disciplines. They will also have opportunities to engage with other scholars to showcase individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.