Jabreia Taylor, a political science and honors liberal studies major at Kentucky State University (KSU), has been selected as a 2016 HBCU All-Star by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The All-Stars, comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.
The St. Louis, Missouri, native already has a history of civic engagement and leadership on KSU’s campus. Taylor applied to the program with an initiative that she has felt passionately about for some time: combatting dating violence and human sex trafficking. Last year, she organized a workshop on the topic that was held in Kentucky Hall at Kentucky State. She intends to combat this issue in her career as a district attorney.
“It is my goal to bring more seminars here this year and work hand in hand with Dean Daryl Lowe and introduce it more to the student body,” Taylor said. “My main goal is to bring awareness to dating violence and more of a structure to it — instead of “Oh, it doesn’t happen to everyone or it doesn’t happen on this university’s campus.”
Over the next year, the All-Star students will serve as ambassadors by providing outreach opportunities and communicating with other students about the value of both education and networking. Using social media, relationships with community-based organizations, and sessions with industry professionals, the students will share proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.
They will also participate in the White House HBCU Week Conference, national and regional events, and webinars with Initiative staff and other professionals on a range of disciplines that support a spirit of engagement and personal and professional development.
“As the vice president of the Pre-Law Society, the president of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Chief of Staff of the Student Government Association (SGA), I want to help join those organizations for an Awareness Day or Awareness Week,” she said. “That is what an HBCU All-Star is all about; taking what you want to do and putting it into play on your own campus.”
Taylor said that she was inspired by survivors who have confided in her about dating violence, but they never took a legal route.
“I found myself wanting to help them even more. I thought, ‘How far can social work go? Or, how much does this counseling help?’’’ she said. “I would rather be the voice that you have had stolen from you in a courtroom and help you battle it to the end.”
KSU associate professor and Interim Chair of the Whitney Young Honors Dr. Cynthia Shelton will serve as Taylor’s campus liaison, Taylor said. Dr. Shelton helped to recommend Taylor to the All-Star initiative.
“I immediately recognized Ms. Taylor’s exceptional initiative and leadership potential inside and outside the classroom,” Dr. Shelton said. “Honestly, she is an educator’s dream student, and I’m very pleased she has been awarded this prestigious honor. She will represent us well.”
This is the third class of All-Stars, according to U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. SGA president Ralph Williams was previously selected as an HBCU All-Star in 2015.
The All-Stars were chosen from over 300 students from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands. They will work together and as a group and network with one another to achieve their goals.
“We’re looking forward to working with this new class of HBCU All-Stars,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Education and Acting Executive Director White House Initiative on HBCUs Kim Hunter Reed. “Our goal is to provide a unique opportunity for these talented students that exposes them to critical national conversations and thought leaders. No doubt they will make their mark and represent their campuses well.”