The Jamaican Howard University Affinity Network (JHUAN) have announced the award of $80,000 in scholarships to 20 students of Jamaican heritage attending Howard University.

The twenty scholarship awardees will be recognized at the organisation’s annual fundraising event, HUes of Blue, on Saturday, 16 September 2023.  The event will be hosted by The Honourable Audrey E. Marks, the Jamaican Ambassador to the United States who is a leading advocate of the program since its inception.

JHUAN was birthed from the collaborative vision of Howard University’s 17th President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, and The Honourable Audrey E. Marks, who both sought to enhance support for Jamaican students. Entrusted with this mission, they appointed founding Chairman, Don Christian, to spearhead an organization dedicated to serving the Jamaican student community at Howard University. This encompassed offering scholarships, mentorship, and career development.

As the inaugural affinity group of its kind at Howard University, JHUAN has set a precedent, building on a legacy spanning over a century of Jamaican students attending Howard. The primary intent of these scholarships is to bolster the trajectory of Jamaican students at Howard, granting them broader access and opportunities.

JHUAN President and Howard Board of Trustee Member, Don Christian, said: “As an alumnus who has benefited greatly from Howard University, it is important that we look for ways to support our academic institutions and pay it forward.

“As JHUAN continues to grow its financial support and broaden its impact, I am honoured as a Howard alumnus to support our Jamaican students who have navigated significant challenges to be able to pursue their studies at Howard.” Since the launch of the scholarship program in 2018, 64 awards have been distributed totalling $254,000 over five years. In 2023, scholarship applications increased by 50% while fundraising has grown at an average of 36% annually demonstrating the critical need for increased financial support. 

JHUAN’s goal is to raise significant funds at the upcoming HUes of Blue fundraising event to be able to impact more lives. The $4,000 scholarships were awarded to Jamaican-born students or those of Jamaican parentage with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and enrolled full-time at Howard University.

Scholarship recipients include Aaliyah Anderson (graduate student), Kathy Bedasse (graduate student), Damario Berry (junior), Nazarah Bridgewater (junior), Gabrielle Clarke (sophomore), Sarah Cole (sophomore), Alrick Davis (senior), Yashieka Fearon (senior), Aliyah Hamilton (junior), Paul Jones (sophomore), Lori-Ann Knight (junior), Huonna McCarthy (graduate student), Danielle McIntosh (senior), Ashley Medley (graduate student), Shamona Morris (sophomore), Jade Mullings (sophomore), Tabitha Norton (graduate student), Naila Scott (graduate student), Lori-Lee Stennett (junior), and Amanda Wright (junior).

JHUAN Scholarship and Mentorship Committee Chair, Joanita Ricketts, “Through scholarships, students will be able to ease the financial burden and focus more on academics.

“In addition to scholarships, JHUAN offers mentorships, workshops and webinars covering areas such as financial literacy and career planning. We hope that early exposure will help students gain a better appreciation for life after college and empower them to be better positioned for career success.”