Inspired by MacKenzie Scott’s gifts to HBCU and President Biden’s call for diversity in the federal government, Jacqueline Lewis, longtime advocate for experiential learning, established the HBCU National Center to enable students to intern in Washington, D.C. — the key to next-generation leadership in the Black community.


The Center awards each participating college at least one $5,600 housing grant per academic semester, assists in placing the students in an internship, and connects them with a local alumni mentor. Located on Capitol Hill behind the U.S Supreme Court, this landmark building has housed thousands of interns for over 20 years.

The high cost of living in Washington, in addition to the shortage of diverse programming make it challenging for HBCU students to afford opportunities in Congress, Federal agencies, and private corporations.

Chanda Jefferson, a science teacher from South Carolina, had the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill thanks to a paid fellowship. Jefferson said that the program itself, which is open to educators from all backgrounds, was still working to increase diversity within its ranks. The solution, she said, is to expand programs that create long-term investments in diversity.

The Inaugural Class will be honored at the Dedication on November 3, 2021 — Six students from four HBCU, their presidents, career staff, and alumni mentors:


Kentucky State University; President Clara Stamps

  • Anyiah Chambers, Sophomore, Interning for U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragán
  • Nina Jones, Sophomore, interning for U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan
  • Brionna Greer, Senior, interning for U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern
  • Beverly Schneller, Ph. D., Campus Liaison
  • Daryl Love, Mentor


North Carolina A&T University; Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr.

  • Deja Mayfield, Senior, Interning for U.S. Rep. Alma Adams
  • Cynthia Downey, Kendra Haywood, Pamela Basheer, Jenell Prince, Campus Liaisons
  • Crystal Hunter, Mentor

Harris Stowe State University; Dr. Latonia Collins Smith

  • Malik Singleton, Senior, interning for U.S. Rep. Karen Bass
  • Victoria Harris, Campus Liaison & Mentor

Grambling State University; President Richard Gallot Jr.

  • Kyle West, Graduate Student, interning for U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper
  • Kelley Blackburn, Campus Liaison & Mentor


At the Dedication, remarks will be delivered from Keynote Speaker, Congresswoman Alma Adams representing North Carolina’s 12th District and Founder of the first bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus in Congress.


The grant deadline for students to participate in the Spring program November 28, 2021. HBCU Presidents or career staff should contact Hayley Dashiell at 202-548-2720 to process a qualified student.



Inspired by Mackenzie Scott’s gifts and journalist Tiffany Cross’s book “Say It Louder: Black Narratives, and Saving our Democracy”, the Honorable Jacqueline Lewis created the HBCU National Center Foundation to enable HBCU students to bypass the structural inequities that often prevent Black students from interning in D.C.

The Center awards each participating college at least one $5,600 housing grant per academic semester and assists in placing the participating students in an internship and connects them with a local alumni mentor. For more information, visit


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Coach Nikki Zeigler

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