“I feel like HBCUs are perceived negatively by outsiders. I’m from Chicago. I wasn’t around a lot of people who went to HBCUs. Even when I was applying to schools, my high school counselor told me that HBCUs were just party schools and that I should go somewhere else. But Jackson State has been a hub of opportunity since I’ve been here. I got here this time last year. When I came here, I had never seen more African Americans in any one place in my life.

In my first semester, I met a lot of people. Like, one of my friends is an opera singer, and another is a violinist. I never saw that in Chicago from someone of my race. I also was able to go to Atlanta, for free, for the AEI, an entrepreneurship conference. I already have a Union Pacific internship scheduled for this summer through the College of Business. I got to meet a lot of incredible people for my business, Historically Fresh. I was able to go to Innovate Mississippi, and we actually won second place there.

JSU really just opened the doors up for me for things I can do and the network of people I can have access to. I think a lot of African Americans, coming out of high school, don’t really see the potential they have at an HBCU. Instead, they go to a PWI and kind of fall into that category of minority. So, I’m trying to change the negative perception, just by showing the world that we can create something here that resonates throughout the nation. I think that needs to be a focal point when we talk to high school seniors.”

– Javier, senior business management major from Chicago