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White House initiative cites Drake State students

HUNTSVILLE – A pair of Drake State Community and Technical College students have been recognized by a White House Historically Black Colleges and Universities initiative.

The initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity honored Makahla Riley and Eddie Tolbert for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.

Riley and Tolbert are among 102 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from 29 states and countries in the ninth cohort of HBCU scholars. Tolbert is majoring in Computer Information Systems and Riley studies Business Administration.

“We are incredibly proud of Makahla Riley and Eddie Tolbert, two outstanding students from Drake State, for being recognized as part of the ninth cohort of HBCU scholars,” said Drake State President Dr. Patricia Sims. “This prestigious recognition highlights their academic and personal achievements and contributions to their community. As they embark on this transformative journey as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on HBCUs and partners with NASA, we do not doubt that Makahla and Eddie will continue to uphold the culture of excellence and inclusion championed by our nation’s HBCUs.

“Their dedication to serving their communities, along with the opportunities presented through the HBCU Scholars program, will contribute to the growth of our economy and the strengthening of our democracy. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Makahla, Eddie, and all the 2023 HBCU Scholars on their well-deserved recognition, and we eagerly look forward to witnessing the positive impact they will make as they raise the bar for excellence and innovation.”

Over the course of an academic school year, Riley and Tolbert will serve as ambassadors of Drake State, the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and the U.S. Department of Education.

An important component of the HBCU Scholar Program is a partnership with NASA to foster innovation and opportunity for the cohorts. The students will have the opportunity to present their IP ideas at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., during
the National HBCU Week Conference in September.

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