MVSU student

Mississippi Valley State University’s Destiney Sharkey of Itta Bena has been selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar.

Mississippi Valley State University’s Destiney Sharkey has been selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative as a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar — the initiative’s highest student recognition.

Sharkey, a rising senior English major at MVSU, is among 44 students from 34 HBCUs across the nation selected for the distinction based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement, and entrepreneurial skills. Each scholar is also nominated and endorsed by his or her institution’s president.

Sharkey said she is proud to be nominated to represent MVSU.

“I hope my community takes this honor as one for all,” she said. “The small town of Itta Bena is my hometown, and I’ve never been on a plane. MVSU chose to send me to represent (the university) in Washington, D.C., and that still sounds foreign. I am blessed and thankful beyond measures.”

Competitiveness Scholars will assemble during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference held Sept. 8-11 in Washington, D.C. The theme of this year’s conference is “Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance.”

The scholars are also recognized throughout the 2019-20 academic school year and will receive the opportunity to facilitate engagement activities, as well as receive information and resources that they can take advantage of or disseminate to fellow students.

“We’re looking forward to working with and learning from this new cohort of HBCU Competitiveness Scholars,” said Elyse Jones, the initiative’s coordinator for the scholars program. “We have lots of unique, fun and interactive opportunities planned for this year that will provide new opportunities for these representatives, exposing them to critical national conversations and influential thought leaders.”

Sharkey said she is grateful for the opportunities MVSU has provided her.

“Humble beginnings in the Mississippi Delta have led me to appreciate blessings,” she said. “I have used my experiences, pain and pride to guide my footsteps. I use writing to vent and to learn, and it is writing that gave me this tremendous honor. It led me to meet the fantastic mentors in my department, thus granting me valuable opportunities, such as being able to present in conferences as well as build an impressive resume.”

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