Two MVSU students named 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars by the White House Initiative on HBCUs

ITTA BENA, Miss.—Two Mississippi Valley State University students were among 44 scholars from 33 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) announced by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities as 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars— the initiative’s highest student recognition. 

MVSU’s Remeya Ganesh of Toronto, Canada and Chyna Sawyers of London, England are included on the prestigious list of HBCU students being honored for their superior academic achievements, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial “go-getter” spirits. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said, “these exemplary students have excelled inside the classroom and out and have successfully met the unprecedented challenges to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their determination, resilience, and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they continue their academic careers and prepare for future continued success.”

Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, added, “I am simply thrilled to recognize the 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars. These students are fine examples of the talent and boundless vitality found at America’s HBCUs. This recognition heightens expectations for scholars to continue making meaningful contributions to our nation. I am confident they will deliver.”

Ganesh is a junior Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) major with a minor in Biology and a focus in teaching. Ganesh maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the MVSU Women’s Soccer team. 

“My career goal is to become a health care professional so that I can travel to third world countries and help those in need, especially orphans, women, and individuals with special needs,” Ganesh said. 

Sawyers is a senior Engineering Technology major with a concentration in Architectural Construction Management and Computer-Aided Drafting and Design. In addition to maintaining a 3.6 grade point average, Sawyers is a member of the MVSU Women’s Basketball team and was recently voted Miss MVSU 2020-2021 by her peers.

“I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college and earn a degree. I plan to continue my educational journey and obtain my master’s and PhD. My ultimate goal is to own a hotel and use it to house the homeless. Working with the homeless is near and dear to my heart and helping them to find work and training is where I hope to start,” Sawyers said. The Competitiveness Scholars are comprised of undergraduate, graduate, professional students, and international students from various academic backgrounds. The 2020 scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students. In addition, each recognized scholar was nominated and endorsed by their institution’s president, which itself is a prestigious acknowledgment.