top of page

Awesome College Preparation

Dr. Deana Ervin, IPhD, founder & CEO of Black & College Bound

In addition to discussing scholarship timelines, and asking girls their future career goals. Some responses were, civil rights attorney, detective, nurse practitioner, therapist, singer, elementary school teacher, educator, artist, heart surgeon, fashion designer, journalist, mechanical engineer, and coroner.

She provided each girl with a planner she helped designed. It was designed in mind so teenagers can truly explore their career goals and learn how to achieve them. She offered the girls some sage advice including to make sure to always have a pen and to network. She discussed the importance of SMART (specific measurable achievable realistic time limited) goals. She stated, "if you don't know what you want, at least figure out what you don't want." and "you get paid at the level of the decisions you make." She encouraged the girls to make a plan and know timelines, like when scholarships are due.

Dr. Ervin grew up in Queens, NY. She did not have any concrete plans for college other than she was suppose to go. She was given a full scholarship to Prairie View A&M University so that is where she went. She still did not have a plan so during orientation she decided to major in business with a focus on accounting. After graduating from PVAMU, she moved to Kansas City to start an MBA program at UMKC and then continued to get a MPA after she realized community development was her true calling. She noticed the disparities east of Troost with scholarship money and college admission. She felt concentrating on policy and urban development is where she could be most impactful. In her 26 years in Kansas City a few of her accomplishments included designing the Kauffman Scholars College Prep Programs and served as the CEO of Children's Defense Fund KC Freedom Schools.

Visit for more information for more information on college readiness.

Shanelle Smith, founder and President of HBCU Walking Billboard

Shanelle Smith, a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, TN grew up in Kansas City, MO. At Fisk, she majored in political science and business. She revealed to the girls her idol was Claire Huxtable so after Fisk, she studied law at UMKC. Unfortunately due to tragedy, she left the program and started working in education. She quickly realized she loves teaching.

Ms. Smith asked the girls what allows a school to be designated an HBCU? She stated an HBCU has to be founded prior to 1964, and its original purpose was to educate African Americans. She discussed with the girls the apprehensions people may have with attending an HBCUs such as price, distance, safety, familiarity/comfort, diversity, and opportunity. She discussed either why each issue is not a true issue or not specific to HBCUs and will apply to any school.

She discussed how to prepare for the HBCU experience, including campus visits. She also gave advice on how to increase gpas, such as go to summer school and also gave scholarship advice.

Visit for more information, including the common app for HBCUs, ACT preparation, and scholarship information specifically for HBCUs.

111 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page