North Carolina A&T State University students, Leon White and Shakera Fudge were selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) for its first class of HBCU All-Stars.

White is a doctoral student, majoring in mechanical engineering and a recipient of a Title III, PhD Fellowship funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T in May 2010.

As an All-Star, White plans to advocate for HBCUs and encourage excellence among students.

“We want our students to be well rounded," White said, which includes, “striving for academic excellence, giving back to the community, mentoring students and developing programs to get the community interested in what we’re advocating for—HBCUs.”

Fudge, a native of Syracuse, NY, is a senior with a double major in animal science and laboratory animal science and a minor in chemistry. She is also a USDA scholar and a participant in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She plans to attend veterinary school after graduation.

“For the university and community, we plan to host programs regarding continuing education and academic excellence,” Fudge said.

Fudge wants to leave a legacy of hard work and looks forward to inspiring students to persevere.

“Attending an HBCU changed my life. I learned a lot about myself. I realized my potential and everyone – from faculty to staff to students – has contributed to my success,” she added. “I was pushed further and because of that I became the person I am today.”

The 2014 class of HBCU All-Stars is comprised of 75 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Students were selected from a pool of 445 candidates who submitted completed applications that included a transcript, resume, essay and recommendation. The 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.

“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.”

“We are extremely proud that Shakera has been named an All-Star. We are also eager to support her as she spreads the word about the rewarding and exciting opportunities that A&T and other HBCU land-grant universities provide for young people,” said Dr. William Randle, dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

“This latest distinction is one of many in Leon’s graduate career here at North Carolina A&T State University. We are extremely proud of him,” said Dr. Robin Coger, dean of the College of Engineering. “Leon’s research, his leadership and commitment to academic excellence, exemplifies the well-rounded, high-achieving engineers that our college is dedicated to producing.”