15th Feb2016

Brittany Bowers – Hampton University – 2014

by Staff

Brittany Bowers, MBA, Hampton University Alumnus (c/o ’14) & Founder/Blogger of  shares with us her HBCU Experience at her once upon a time “Home by the Sea” at the RealHU, Hampton University!

HamptonU Alum, Brittany Bowers looking beautiful and radiant| Image Credit: chiconwallst.com

HamptonU Alum, Brittany Bowers looking beautiful and radiant| Image Credit: chiconwallst.com

Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs?

From Piscataway, New Jersey; HBCUs were first introduced to me by my family. They spoke of relatives that had attended a few & the experiences & history they gained from them.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I live minutes away from Rutgers, I wanted the opportunity to get away from an area I already knew & take the opportunity to learn about myself & my people. I didn’t want to be just a “number” at a pwi. I wanted to know my classmates, my professors, my dean of the school, & I got just that.

Major? Why did you choose it?

I was a 5-Year MBA major at Hampton. I honestly just applied. I didn’t know at the time how extensive our program was until I took my first LAP (Leadership Application Program) course. They focus not only on business, accounting, & marketing, but also developing our soft skills, & developing leaders. You also can’t forget that we have 100% job placement after graduation.

What is the story of your “experience” at Hampton University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I graduated from such a prestigious school such as Hampton. I am the first grand & great grandchild to graduate from a 4-Year school as well as hold a graduate degree. I take pride in that. I had the opportunity to meet lifelong friends, travel & participate in a sport that I love (Cheerleading), learn so much about myself while gaining an invaluable education. We call Hampton our “Home by the Sea” & it’s really just that. I gained a family while being there that I still remain close to & lean on. You don’t get that at just any school.

Who are the professors that have impacted your life in and out of the classroom? How did they do that?

Within our program, we treat each other like family. We have a saying, “We have your back, but not your lack”.

Dean Sid Howard Credle PhD., CPA|Image Credit: biz.hamptonu.edu/

Dean Sid Howard Credle PhD., CPA|Image Credit: biz.hamptonu.edu/

I owe that to all of my professors. Dean Credle has created a phenomenal program & all of the professors, Dr. Hayes, Dr. Beale, Dr. Sharad, Dr. McLain, Dr. Coronel, & professor Maghear have helped implement those key values. They have allowed us to create relationships with them where we can ask any questions & receive adequate answers. I can describe how they do it specifically, but just know they do it well!

Questions about the HamptonU Experience? Reach out to Britt and also Check out Chiconwallst.com

Britt Monique AKA @xScrappyBaby, Founder/Blogger of @chiconwallst | Image Credit: Twitter

Britt Monique AKA @xScrappyBaby, Founder/Blogger of @chiconwallst | Image Credit: Twitter


Chiconwallst.com - Fashion blog for individuals seeking office wear and style inspiration, tips, & advice | Image Credit: Chiconwallst.com

Chiconwallst.com – Fashion blog for individuals seeking office wear and style inspiration, tips, & advice | Image Credit: Chiconwallst.com

I also have a blog called chiconwallst.com which was developed to provide young professionals with a resource on how to dress for the workplace, provide advice & tips as well.


14th Jan2016

Gerald Huggins – Virginia Union University – 2015

by Staff

Gerald Huggins, an alumnus of Virginia Union University (class of 2015) and Member of the Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) Fraternity gives insight into his HBCU Experience at VUU

Image Courtesy @Gerald_Huggins (via Twitter)

Image Courtesy @Gerald_Huggins (via Twitter)

Where are you from? Who introduced you to HBCUs?

I am from Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Bed-ford Stuyvesant. Went to C.S 21 for elementary, RELC 113 for Junior high, and Boys and Girls HS. My father and mother introduced me HBCUs. My father went to Morgan State and played football there from 1976-1981. My mother went to North Carolina Central University. My mother and father met at North Carolina Central when he was a Grad Assistant and she was a freshman.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

HBCUs were instilled in me and my sister from a young age. My parents always taking us to different events such as football games, basketball games, homecoming, and HBCU college tours. I was an athlete and I wanted to play at an HBCU all throughout high school. I was trying my hardest to get into South Carolina State and Morgan State. I was not recruited by any HBCUs so I settled for Long Island University. It was a PWI in NY. I was not happy there so I transferred after my first semester to Virginia Union University. VUU became my permanent home.

Major? Why did you choose it?

I was a Mass Communications major at Virginia Union. I have a passion for sports so I have aspirations of either producing, broadcasting, or sports public relations.

What is the story of your “experience” at Virginia Union University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

When I first stepped foot on Virginia Union’s campus I was not sure how the next 4 years were going to go for me. Yet, I met some really great individuals who made me feel like family. I was a football player. Played from the spring of 2012 to the fall of 2014. I was on dean’s list every semester except for 2. I was very liberal on campus when issues raised people look at me for guidance. I was initiated into the Zeta chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity incorporated. I was the president and vice president of the Zeta chapter. I was apart of the NAACP on Virginia Union’s campus.


Gerald on the Que plot on the VUU campus (Image Courtesy @Gerald_Huggins (Twitter)

The faculty and staff at Virginia Union were all family to me. I went to them about all of my problems. They always had an open door policy for their students.

From Nurse Bailey with student health to Mrs. Dionne who worked in the cafeteria, I always had someone to converse with. Virginia Union is not a big school, we do not have the best cafeteria, we do not have the best dorms but beyond the bond between one another cancelled most of that out. Virginia Union is a humbling experience. If someone can graduate from Virginia Union then I promise you that person can survive anywhere on this earth.

Who are the professors that have impacted your life in and out of the classroom? How did they do that?

Professor Thornton was my French professor during my sophomore year at VUU. He really helped me become somewhat fluent in French. Besides him being my French professor he was also a mentor to me. He was always there to give advice. He challenged me to be a better person and I accepted that challenge. It was sad to see him retire but I know he was happy to find out that I graduated from VUU and also got hired by ESPN.

Social Network Info (Insta, fB, Email, Twitter, SC, Website, Kik, etc.)

Instagram: GeraldHimBoii
Twitter: Gerald_Huggins
LinkedIn: Gerald Huggins
Snap Chat: GeraldHimBoii

30th Aug2013

Tonya Giddens – Norfolk State University ’92

by Staff

Born into the HBCU Legacy, Tonya Giddens, a Norfolk State University Alumnus and Entrepreneur speaks on her HBCU Experience, her modeling career, and how the Ms. Full Figured HBCU Pageant came to be.

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Norfolk State University Alum, Creator/Executive Producer of the Ms. Full Figured HBCU Pageant, and Ms. Exquisite Full Figured USA 2012 Tonya Giddens! | Image Credit: Facebook

Who introduced you to HBCUs?

My uncles and aunt are HBCU graduates. My uncles attended Morehouse College and Hampton University and my aunt attended Alabama A&M University so I come from a long line of HBCU graduates.


Terry V. Percy, Esq. also attended Alabama A&M University, Class of 1969! | Image Credit: Terry V. Percy, Esq.

What are the key attributes to being a successful model such as yourself? Do you have a preference between fashion shows and modeling shoots? If yes, why?

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Tonya Giddens featured in Full Blossom Magazine | Image Credit: Facebook.com

The key to being a successful plus model is 3 words: DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are so many models out there who have walked in a couple of shows and feel like they can be considered “models”.

Learn everything you can about the plus industry; know the players in the game. Get the training needed to get ahead in the business.

I prefer fashion shows because I love the adrenaline when I (used to) hit the runway. It’s an unbelievable rush.

As Beauty Director of Full Figured Fashion Week®, what is a typical day like for you? How did you make it all come together?

My Job as Beauty Director in Full Figured Fashion Week® is to pull together a hair and makeup team for the models for the fashion showcases for the week.

I collaborate with the Executive Producer and Lead Makeup Artist and Hairstylist to select looks for the models. Quite simply, my job is to make sure the models look beautiful when they hit the runway.

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

Growing up with relatives who attended an HBCU it seemed like a natural progression for me. The experiences that they talked about fascinated me but what really sealed my final decision to attend an HBCU was the feeling of unity and togetherness that I don’t think I would have experienced attending a pwi.

What professors at Norfolk State University left the most impression upon you as a person and student?

I must say that there were a couple who left (and still do to this day) an impression on me.

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Dr. Wanda Brockington, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Norfolk State | Image Credit: sola.nsu.edu

First and foremost Dr. Wanda Brockington (Mass Communications Dept.). As a plus size woman she always carried herself with such class and always had style.

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Dr. Stanley Tickton, Professor and Graduate Program Director | Image Credit: sola.nsu.edu

Dr. Stanley Tickton was another professor who was so passionate about his work. They may not have realized it but yes I was paying attention even when they thought I wasn’t. 😉

What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

They both have such a love for what they do after all these years and I admire that. We should all be fortunate to do something that we love to do. As the saying goes, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

What “first” or brand new life experiences did you have while attending the one and only Norfolk State?

Attending Norfolk State opened up a world of new experiences for me. It was my first time being away from home and I must admit I was a bit sheltered. Ironically the first person I met on campus was also named Tonya so I guess that was an icebreaker (LOL). My first experience attending Homecoming was overwhelming to me as my high school never had one (HS of Music & Art). It was great!

What did it feel like to become “Ms. Exquisite Full Figured USA” in 2012? How did you prepare for that pageant and that moment of being crowned?

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Tonya Giddens Wins Ms. Exquisite Full Figured USA 2012!!!!!! featured in MortarNBriques’ Blog | Image Credit: mortarnbrique.wordpress.com

Being Ms. Exquisite Full Figured USA was a great experience for me. I said that when I turned 40 I would do something I never did before so when this pageant came along I decided to go for it.

As far as preparing for the pageant I had to pull together looks for each category and come out doing my best, and that’s what I did. I never won anything before and to win in my category was a truly humbling experience.

How did the Ms. Full Figured HBCU Pageant™ come to be? Why did you found the pageant?

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Tonya is dedicated to supporting HBCUs and so created the Ms. Full Figured HBCU Pageant™. She hopes that the Ms. Full Figured HBCU Pageant™ will serve as a springboard to nurture and empower young plus size women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. | Image Credit: msffhbcu.com

I actually caught the pageant bug a long time ago, before I won Ms. Exquisite FFUSA. I wanted to produce a pageant that displayed the beauty of young plus size girls who attended HBCUs and show the world that these young women are smart and beautiful as their straight size counterparts.

My main goal is to make sure these students receive scholarship money, every little bit helps for them to further their education and become productive people of society.

How can HBCU students and alumni participate in the upcoming pageant this March of 2014?

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The mission of The Ms Full Figured HBCU Pageant™ is to progressively nurture exceptional catalysts for change for plus size women attending historically Black colleges and universities by empowering them to embrace their physical attributes, reaffirm their self-worth, and impact their communities. | Image Credit: msffhbcu.com/main

We will begin the casting process for the pageant in October, all the details and the criteria for competing in the pageant are on the website (http://msffhbcu.com/main/sign-up/). For more information email info@msffhbcu.com.

Want to be a model? Learn how to get the most of your Norfolk State University HBCU Experience? Contact Tonya Giddens on Facebook.

07th Aug2013

Journalist Curtis Bunn – Norfolk State University ’83

by Staff

Listed among the prominent alumni who graduated from Norfolk State University; Accomplished Journalist and Best-Selling Author Curtis Bunn gives insight into his HBCU Experience and the many milestones in his literary career to date.

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Accomplished Journalist and Best-Selling Author Curtis Bunn | Image Credit:: Curtis Bunn

Who introduced you to HBCUs?

I grew up in Washington D.C., and really did not like the snow and cold weather of the winters.

Washington, DC is Home to the African-American History Museum

So, my objective was to go to college in either Hawaii, California, Florida or Texas, just to avoid cold weather.

But I realized it would be difficult to see my family as often as I would have liked; So when a counselor at Ballou High School, mentioned Norfolk State to me, it aroused my interest.

I am the first in my family to attend college, and so there was no one to guide me and I was completely unaware of HBCUs. I took a visit to Norfolk State, which was only about three hours from D.C., and I fell in love with the place, the sense of family and heritage. Best decision I could have made.

As an accomplished author, what is your process when writing a new novel?

As a journalist who gets a rush out of writing on deadline, I usually find myself putting off writing the heart of my books until I am under some measure of deadline pressure. That’s when my mind is most active and I am most productive.

In general, I come up with an idea and flesh it out in my head first, for several days. Then I put the ideas down in my laptop. From there, I begin the story.

Usually, the opening line is floating around in my head for several days. I edit as I go. Meaning, if I write three chapters, before I start the next chapter, I go back and read the previous three. Not just to add more heart and soul to what has been written, but also to edit it for typos or any errors. Most importantly, I regain momentum as I go back over what was written.

It puts me back in that writing place, and I am able to go on with the next chapters in the rhythm of the previous chapters. When I know I am approaching the end of the book, I get a sense of excitement and sadness, too. Excited because I am really pleased and excited about what I have created, but sad because the characters I created in my book live in me, and so pretty soon I would be abandoning them, and that makes me a little sad.

What is the process to having ones’ thoughts turned into published novels like yours?

The process is different for everyone.

For me, my latest works have been published under Zane’s Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster/Atria. It’s been a true blessing for me because I have essentially just submitted my proposals to Zane and Strebors’ editorial director, Charmaine Roberts, and they have come back to offer me deals. No agent. No drama.

So, I’m blessed that Zane read and enjoyed my first novel, Baggage Check (2001), which was No. 1 on the Essence magazine best-sellers list). She went on to do amazing things in publishing, including Strebor. She and Charmaine seek out diverse, interesting talents, and so I had a pipeline directly to the decision-makers, making it much easier for me than it would be otherwise, I believe.

baggage check curtis bunn

Read “Baggage Check” the first chance you get! | Image Credit: goodreads.com

Why did you choose an HBCU over a pwi?

I was totally unfamiliar with HBCUs until a counselor suggested Norfolk State. He had heard it had a strong journalism program, and he knew I wanted to be a journalist.

What sold me on it was the feeling of family I got when I visited. There was a lot of pride in seeing thousands of young people who look like you aspiring to something greater. And there was a sense from the faculty and staff that they wanted to see you succeed.

My experience at Norfolk State was so profound and fun and life-changing that I wrote a book, “Homecoming Weekend,” (check out his interview with Rolling Out) as an homage or love letter to HBCUs in general and Norfolk State in particular.

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The One and Only “Homecoming Weekend” by Curtis Bunn | Image Credit: Curtis Bunn

What professors at Norfolk State University left the most impression upon you as a person and student?

Dr. Lawrence J. Kagwaa, who was the head of the Journalism Department when I was a freshman, was very influential.

He identified my potential and made sure I had no financial issues by granting me scholarships for my remaining three years that took care of all of my tuition. That was huge. My mom and dad had scraped together every penny they could muster to send me to Norfolk State.

I could not get any financial aid and we knew nothing of student loans. So, Dr. Kagwaa’s leadership in the department and financial help was immeasurable. The students that left the largest impressions were Leon Carter and Derek Dingle. Leon was my editor when I arrived and he was tough and smart and funny and encouraging. He made me a journalist.

He’s a big-time editor at ESPN New York after being an award-winning Sports Editor of the New York Daily News.

Then there is Derek T. Dingle (in video above), who came in when I did.

Derek’s talent and seriousness and commitment to becoming a journalist drove me. We have fun and created great memories. But what I remember the most was us writing great stories and growing as journalists and young men while putting our all into our student newspaper, the award-winning Spartan Echo.

What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

They showed the way, in different forms. Dr. Kagwaa was a leader who cared about the students. Leon was advanced for his age and understood the value of managing people.

Derek was smart and talented, but also serious about what he wanted to achieve. All those elements seeped into me and helped me to round out into the journalist and author that I am.

What “first” or brand new life experiences did you have while attending the one and only Norfolk State?

The biggest was living away from home. I never went to an overnight camp growing up. We couldn’t afford it. I remember when my father, mother, sister and one of my brothers, Eddie, dropped me off at NSU. I got settled into the room and my little brother sat on the bed and cried. He was seven. He didn’t want to leave me.

That’s when it hit me that I would be on my own. And I knew then how I handled that “first” would determine my life. If I went buck wild and just partied and hung out, I would have a sketchy future. But if I partied, had fun, embraced growing up and did what I needed to do in the classroom, I could have an amazing experience. I had an amazing experience!!!

I had as much fun as anyone, but (most of the time) was disciplined enough to get my work done and grow as a potential young journalist, too.

How did the National Book Club Conference come to be? Why did you found the conference?

In 2001, I traveled a lot to meet with book clubs about my first novel, Baggage Check.” It was such a great experience, each one of them. I’m sure if they hated the book, it would not have been so much fun. But they enjoyed it and we enjoyed each other discussing it.

It just hit me one day that most people do not get a chance to sit down and converse with the authors of books they have read. It was then that I said to myself, “Someone needs to create an event where readers and authors come together for two days and have a succession of book club meetings.” Then I decided that I would be that person.


The Book Club Spotlight of NBCC : The Readers Journey Network of South Jersey | Image Credit: Nationalbookclubconference.com

And so the 2003 NBCC was the first and we have been going strong since. This year will be the 11th-annual NBCC. And not only that, but I have taken a group to Ghana, West Africa (2007) and South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) last year. Both were incredible experiences.

We noticed on your Facebook page your recent success with Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, what are your upcoming novels “The Old Man In The Club” and “Seize The Day” about?

The Old Man In The Club is a book that will reveal why this man, Winston Thomas, at 63 has such an interest in pursuing young woman and partying with people less than half his age. We’ve all seen that guy and wondered, “What is he doing in here?” Well, my position is that it’s not just about being a dirty old man pursuing young women. Things happened in his life that brought him to that place, and those things are interesting, sad, funny, and empowering.

Seize The Day is about a man who learns he has terminal cancer, and instead of submitting to chemotherapy that MIGHT prolong his life by a few months, but DEFINTELY would make him feel terrible, he instead decides to live out his life and mend relationships, build new ones and take in the waning days of his life.

In as many words as you need, share with us your HBCU Experience at Norfolk State. How did you overcome your nervousness about attending NSU? What was your major? and Why did you choose it? How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

I overcame nervousness with the help of my first roommates, Bruce Lee, Curtis West, Tony Coleman and Tony Brown. They didn’t know they were doing that, but we became fast friends; Had a great time playing Spades, Backgammon, joking with each other, playing basketball. . . you name it.

Having good people in my room helped me ease into college life and away from any nervousness I might have had. . . I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was 13, and one of the reasons I chose Norfolk State was because of its journalism program. Best decision I could have made for my career.

Norfolk State set everything in motion for me. . . I was a reporter, Sports Editor, Associate Editor and Executive Editor of the Spartan Echo, our campus newspaper over my four years at Norfolk State.

I was MVP and leading scorer of the Intramural Basketball League. I pledged Alpha Phi Alpha at Norfolk State, Epsilon Pi chapter of the first and greatest fraternity for black men.

How can HBCU students and alumni get involved with the National Book Club Conference and possibly assist you in future literary research?

The website is www.nationalbookclubconference.com. Students and alums can first support by attending the event. Registration information is on the site. Also, I am reachable through the site for any volunteer interests anyone may have.

When will “The Old Man In The Club” and “Seize The Day” be available on the market?Where/How can fans of your work purchase these great novels?

The Old Man In The Club will be released in the fall of 2014 and Seize The Day in 2015.

My next book, The Truth Is In The Wine, will be released on October 8th of this year.

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The Truth is in the Wine by Curtis Bunn | Image Credit: bookish.com

It is about a man who tries to save his troubled marriage by taking his wife, mother and mother-in-law on a Thanksgiving trip to Napa Valley. While tasting the wine, though, people begin revealing secrets better left untold, secrets that challenge relationships and test moral values.

What were your top 3 proudest moments @ Norfolk State University?

The first moment came when I saw my name above my first article as a freshman. That was a proud moment, a moment that pushed me to do more and more, which led to my second proud moment.

Because of my work on the school paper and my internship at the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, I had three job offers to be a journalist before I graduated: The Winston Salem Journal, The Virginian Pilot and The St. Petersburg Times.

I took the job as a news reporter at the Times, and later worked in Washington, D.C, at The Washington Times for 1 1/2 years, 11 years in New York at Newsday and the New York Daily News and 14 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. My third proudest moment was graduating. I am the first in my family to do so, and that was special. I’m proud to say that my son, Curtis Jr., is a 2005 graduate of Norfolk State!!!!

What have been your proudest moments in your career since graduating from the halls of Prestigious Norfolk State University?

The birth of my children, Curt and Gwen, 21, tops anything, everything.

Professionally, it is hard to say. A lot a great things have happened to me in my career and I thank God for that. I have won national awards as a journalist, covered the Olympics in Seoul, Korea and Australia, covered Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant at the height of their careers, covered Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours and World Series and Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson and on and on.

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Curtis Bunns’ Article on Kobe Bryant with the Atlanta Black Star | Image Credit: Atlantablackstar.com

I have written books that were bestsellers and loved by thousands of readers. That’s pretty heady stuff.

If you had to speak two sentences of wisdom to the youth. What would they be?

Find your passion, that one thing you’d REALLY enjoy doing. Then pursue it with a dogged determination.

Questions about becoming a best-selling author? Want to gain more insight on maximizing your HBCU Experience? Respectfully reach out to Curtis!

Facebook | Email: curtisbunn[AT]yahoo.com

29th Jun2013

Jordyn Hawkins-Rippie – Hampton University ’17

by Staff

Future medicinal private practice owner, Jordyn Hawkins-Rippie shares with us his journey through high school into the Famed and Historically rich halls of Hampton University.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Bear, Delaware and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.

How would you describe your high school experience and environment?

I attended a small, all-male K-12 private school located in Baltimore and my high school experience was largely shaped by a selective and rigorous academic curriculum, involvement in a number of clubs and organizations and memorable times spent hanging out with my friends.

What extra curricular activities did you participate in?

Varsity Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field, Black Awareness Club, Diversity Club, Traveling Men (school’s a capella group), Fellowship of Christian Universities and Schools (FOCUS)

What was your GPA? ACT, SAT, etc. scores?

GPA: 3.5
SAT: 1940

When did you send your application to the HBCU of your choice?

I sent my application to Hampton in early November to make the Early Action deadline.

How did you first learn about HBCUs?

My parents were the first set of individuals to explain what an HBCU was to me.

My stepdad graduated from Howard and at the onset of my college search, I was primarily encouraged by my parents to apply to one of these institutions.

Talks about the social scene, the gorgeous women (see the graceful Nubian Queens of “Ebony Fire” below!) and the academic offerings was an alluring trifecta I simply couldn’t resist.

Were your guidance counselors knowledgeable about HBCUs? If not, where did you get all of your information from about the HBCUs you were thinking of attending?

My guidance counselors were minimally knowledgeable about HBCUs – throughout my college process I was always more knowledgeable than my counselors about the institutions.

I obtained most of my information through online research and through conversations with both alumni and current students of the institutions to which I applied.

What led you to choose an HBCU over a pwi (predominately “white” institution)?

I strongly felt the need to experience something different from the predominately white school I had been attending: I wanted to be in the majority for once in my life and to create a genuine appreciation and awareness for who I am both as an individual and as an Afro-American.

The positive repercussions of being the majority in an educational and social setting are strikingly evident and I certainly wanted to be able to have that experience.

Which HBCU did you decide to attend? And why?

I choose to attend Hampton University for both personal and financial reasons.

On a personal level, I loved the picturesque scenery of the sea, the congeniality of the students with whom I talked, the classes I shadowed and the social atmosphere – all of which I experienced during Hampton’s Honors Weekend.

Hampton also offered me a near-full ride to attend, which was certainly an offer none of my other schools had given me.

Jordyn Hawkins-Rippie - Hampton University

Hampton University students participating in Honors Weekend | Image Credit: Hampton University Honors Weekend facebook page

What is your major? And why did you choose it?

I am a Business Management major also pursuing a Pre-Med route. I was awarded a scholarship from the business school at Hampton and the caveat is that you have to be a business major; I choose Business Management specifically so I would have the background and skillset to open a private medical practice if I wanted.

What advice do you have for upcoming juniors and seniors in High School looking at colleges?

1. Don’t be easily swayed or discouraged by another person’s opinion on a college in which you’re interested. You’ll be much happier to find a college that fits who you are as an individual than find one that causes you to lose your identity.

2. Some schools are more generous than others in terms of how much financial aid you receive, but the bottom line is you will pay a nice chunk of the comprehensive fee, so in order to avoid paying a ton of money, search constantly for scholarships. There are scholarships for everything now, so focus on applying to ones that deal in your strengths and ones that are choosen at random.

3. Develop your ability to articulate your thoughts both orally in speech and visually on paper – these two skills are required in nearly all you do, so best to learn them early.

4. And finally, always be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. You can never know where your true passion lays unless you’re willing to go out on a limb to experience it.

Questions about applying to Hampton University before the Early Action deadline? Curious about where to find scholarships? Respectfully inquire with Jordyn!

Email: jmhawkin24@gmail.com

Twitter | Facebook

Instagram: jmhawkin24 | Snapchat: jmhawkin 24

08th Mar2013

Sharrieff R. De’Johnette – Virginia State University ’96

by Staff

Born in Queens,NY and Raised in Williamsburg,VA – current Hampton University Professor Sharrieff R. De’Johnette shares with us his HBCU experience while attending Virginia State University, how he came to choose the major that best suited him, professors that impacted his life, and much more. 


☥ -TOPICS COVERED— Interview Timeline

00:18 – Attending an HBCU in lieu of a pwi

01:22 – Leaving for college after years of High School

02:02 – Deciding to become a History major

02:39 – Great Professors at Virginia State that left an impact

03:51 – Joining groups on the VSU Campus and running for Freshman class president

04:27 – Joining the Alumni Chapter of ΚΑΨ

04:50 – Proudest Moment @ Virginia State

05:33 – HBCUS and the African – American Experience

☥ —- Production

Director/Interviewer: Nya A. Hendricks
View More of Nyas’ Work: http://vimeo.com/user6559879

☥ —-Thank Yous

Thank you to Professor De’Johnette for spending time with us to enlighten the world; Thank you to Hampton University for allowing us to use their beautiful Student Cafeteria and Campus to host this interview, Thank you to Nya Hendricks for her vision and genius behind the camera, and finally Thank you to all of you who support and attend or attended an HBCU!

25th Jan2012

Shanaee Bodrick – Virginia State University ’11

by Staff

Class Of 2011

Major: History & Philosophy

How did you decide to become a student at Virginia State University?

I was a student in an organization titled Campus Connections B.C.T. which took sophomores, juniors and seniors from NC & SC to HBCUs all year round (as high as Delaware State to Bethune Cookman- and occasionally midwest).


"...working with high school students to increase their awareness of the educational and cultural opportunities available to them at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)" | Credit: Campus Connections

What professors at Virginia State University left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

I can’t name one because my entire department left an impression. However, Mr. Edwards in archives left one of the biggest impressions on me.


Mr. Lucious Edwards, Junior an instructor of history and the University Archivist| Credit: UrbanViewsWeekly

What is the story of your “experience” to date at Virginia State University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

Attending an HBCU taught me how to work with people, how to network & be competitive. I loved the vibe from alumni affairs, classroom discussions, homecoming, and other campus events.

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?


What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

My favorite would have to be Los Bandidos in Colonial Heights. One Virginia State favorite is Ettrick Deli which is situated on one end of the school. And lastly, I would say Vincenzo’s on the blvd.

What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

Chants, hmm… the crowd was most active when the woo woo’s did certain cheers, like ‘work it.’

Who was your College crush?


How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I was never nervous. I can say the HBCU-UP program STEP helped me transition on campus.


HBCU-UP Program "STEP" | Credit: StepUpStem

I spent the summer taking 2 classes and living on campus the summer before the semester began.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

History. I came in as a Marketing major, but I didn’t care for it after my 1st semester. I took a philosophy class business ethics with my advisor, I enjoyed his teaching & topics so much, I changed it to History & Philosophy.

What was your proudest moment @ Virginia State University?

Besides graduation, finding out I got accepted into my top graduate school program…here at Howard University

How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

I was active in Student Ambassadors for a few years as well as my majors clubs.

Where was the “yard” located?

University avenue from Foster Hall & Davis Hall on down.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

The oldest building on campus is the presidents house. But the archives, certain residence halls, and administration buildings.

Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

While living in Langston Hall my freshmen year, there was talk of ghost in the building beside ours.

If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

That’s a hard one, but maybe…Thank you for many life lessons.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

I have always loved art & history. It’s something I picked up from my father at a young age. He always exposed culture and books. I would say in elementary school lol.


Father and Daughter created and painted by Shante Young | Credit: Fine Art America

What’s your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

Be grateful for everything you have & things you don’t have. Don’t be afraid to experience new things. Do what works for YOU! People have these unwritten rules about how to deal with situations, but do what works for YOU!

What situation in your life made you feel like you had arrived into womanhood?

Everyday is a stepping stone, growing pains, but I must admit living on my own has kind of solidified my adulthood.

What sports and/or extra curricular activities did you do in High School? And why?

I participated in programs at the YMCA like student youth & government, volunteered with AVID…softball was it for me.

How do you deal with racism if you encounter it?

The mind is a powerful tool, so I choose my words wisely and carry them out effectively. I have a choice to take my business elsewhere.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

Without Faith nothing is possible. But with it nothing is impossible ….Thanks to Mary McLeod Bethune for that one!