University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff senior Kyra Rattler has been named a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar.


Rattler was among 44 students from 34 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to receive the honor, according to a news release.


Announced by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it is the initiative’s highest student recognition. Competitiveness Scholars are comprised of undergraduate, graduate and professional students who are recognized for successfully preparing to compete for top opportunities that improve long-term outcomes, according to the release.


“I am delighted to be named the HBCU Competitiveness Scholar for my university,” Rattler said. “I plan to use this opportunity to expand my knowledge and passion for innovation, leadership, and scholarship.”


A psychology major, Rattler plans to become a family and marriage counselor.


“Through self-motivation, the Little Rock, Ark., native manages a 15-hour course load while working a minimum of six hours per week, and maintaining a 4.0-grade point average during her academic tenure,” according to the release.


Rattler is involved in several campus organizations, including the Carolyn F. Blakely Honors Program, Union Programming Board, and the Psychology Club. She is a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and the Psi Chi International Honor Society for psychology scholars.


She strives to promote scholarship, leadership, and innovation. With the recognition of being named a HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, she plans to expand her platform for the awareness of mental health.


“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 powerful thought leaders.”


Each was nominated and endorsed by their institution’s top administrator.


“The initiative’s watchword is competitiveness and these students are fine examples of the depth and diversity of competitive talent at our institutions,” Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the initiative, said in the release. “We are honored to recognize them.”


Scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students chosen based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit. In the course of their one-year term, Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and institutional achievement, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success.


Competitiveness Scholars will meet during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference, Sept. 8-11 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel. Scholars will be recognized at the Initiative’s Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards luncheon ceremony Sept. 9.


During the conference, scholars will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership, wealth creation and management and civic engagement and will be encouraged to seek out ongoing personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.