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#TBT: EBONY HBCU Campus Queens Edition!

We continue our salute to HBCUs with this May 2015 update on eight of the 2014 TOP 10 EBONY HBCU Campus Queens.

Pictured above, from left: Erica Johnson, Miss Bowie State University; Donielle Williams, Miss Xavier University of Louisiana; and Erica Johnson, Miss Florida A&M.

We are celebrating #TBT by sharing an update on the successes of eight of last year’s Top 10 EBONY HBCU Campus Queens since they appeared in the September 2014 issue of EBONY. From graduate school to involvement in philanthropy, the Queens have continued to demonstrate why they were chosen and we couldn’t be more proud!

Alexis Cole, 2014 Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen?

Cole: My favorite part of being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen is being able to connect with young ladies that attend HBCUs that are not only making a difference at their institutions but in their communities as well.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Cole: Since graduation, I was blessed with an amazing summer internship from the legendary Stax Music Academy’s Soulsville Foundation, where I served as a social media marketing representative.  February 2015, I was also granted the opportunity to work as a consultant and public relations representative for the 2015 NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California. Currently, I am working at Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian, Mississippi, as the assistant director of environmental services.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens?

Cole: Take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity! It is more than just being featured in EBONY Magazine. You will be represented as a positive image that young ladies across the nation will look up to. It is extremely important to build off this platform and continue to embrace this positive legacy of influential African American women.

Donielle Williams, 2014 Miss Xavier University of Louisiana 

Favorite part about being an EBONY Magazine Campus Queen?

Williams: The entire EBONY Campus Queen experience was extremely memorable. Getting the “royal treatment” at the photo shoot, meeting the mayor of Chicago, having dinner with the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and so much more made being an EBONY Campus Queen an amazing and unforgettable experience. The one thing that I will cherish most is my interactions with the 9 other beautiful queens from across the country. By the end of our weekend in Chicago, it felt as if I had known these girls all my life.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Williams: After graduating, I began my first year of dental school at the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Dentistry. Dental school has been extremely challenging but very rewarding. I have already had several opportunities to impact the local community through various projects including teaching the importance of oral health and hygiene practices, performing oral health screenings, and passing out free dental kits. Upon earning my DMD, I plan to continue my service in the dental profession, focusing on improving the oral health of underserved populations. I hope to ignite lasting memories by brightening the world with confidence, one smile at a time.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens? 

Williams: Have FUN! Let this experience be the culminating event of your reign! You have worked hard all year, giving back to your schools and communities. Use this opportunity to get to know your fellow sister queens in a fun and relaxed environment. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Erica Johnson, 2014 Miss Bowie State University 

Favorite part about being an EBONY Magazine Campus Queen? 

Johnson: One of my favorite parts of this once in a lifetime experience was being able to unify and share it with nine other dynamic women representing the best of their respective HBCUs. This experience was nothing short of amazing as the Johnson Publishing Company has a phenomenal team! It was a pleasure to meet and work with them in the beautiful city of Chicago. It was a thrill to watch my family open a prestigious magazine and be proud to see me in it. I am especially thankful and extremely blessed to have had so much support from students, alumni, faculty, staff, family and community. In celebrating my alma mater’s 150th year anniversary, I am honored to have contributed to the rich history and legacy, by serving the institution as Miss Bowie State University and as an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen.

What have you been doing since graduation? 

Johnson: Since graduation, I’m continuously working toward my goals. Acting is one my passions and my career as an actress is taking off. My most recent project is the lead role in a short film titled Life’s Checklist by FAMU graduate Shayla Racquel. It is my hope to be a part of many compelling stories that not only entertain, but impact and inspire as well. Also, I am excited to announce that I have founded Fearless Girls, Inc., a nonprofit organization created to provide mentorship, positive programming, empowerment as well as life-skills and educational resources for girls and young women. To stay abreast of the launching and other information, please visit fearlessgirls.org! I continue to strive everyday to fulfill my calling, to work towards my dreams, to stay involved as an HBCU alumna and to do my part in making a positive impact in my community.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens? 

Johnson: My advice for the 2015 Campus Queens would be to continue in your excellence! Remember that you are purposefully made and your role as a Queen does not end here. In fact, it is only the beginning! Do what God put in your heart and let nothing and no one stand in your way.

Nicole Bowden, 2014 Miss Florida A&M University 

Favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen?

Bowden: I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the EBONY HBCU Campus Queens.  The truth is, it is very difficult to choose just one moment of that experience as my favorite.  I must say though, the highlight of the trip was the opportunity I was afforded to engage with the other campus queens.  It was a wonderful experience to meet and mingle with my counterparts from HBCUs across the country.  To be amongst smart, beautiful, refined women of color with some of the same life goals and aspirations as yourself is a humbling experience and one I remain grateful for. Many of those same young women I keep in contact with today.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Bowden: As a matter of fact, I’ll be crossing that all important graduation stage next week in early May!  I’m thrilled that in just a few days time, I will be an alumnus of the nation’s largest HBCU, Florida A&M University.  College has been an amazing experience for me.  I have had the opportunity to do things I could never have imagined—including being in EBONY magazine.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens?

Bowden: I couldn’t be more excited for you all to experience the greatness of being a Queen.  Always remember that you are a queen today, tomorrow and forever.  Some superheroes wear capes; we wear CROWNS. Always be true to yourself, remain humble and remember people will forget what you did and even what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. GO BE GREAT, QUEENS!!!

Dyonna Wilson, 2014 Miss Norfolk State University 

Wilson: I actually do not have a specific favorite part about being an EBONY Campus Queen.  I consider my whole experience from the heart racing voting to the memorable photoshoot with my lovely queen sisters to the release of the Sept. Issue. I cherish every moment in the journey of becoming a Top 10 EBONY HBCU Campus Queen.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Wilson: Since graduation,  I’ve been working hard to prepare myself for graduate school this  fall as well as preparing for my own dancewear catalog. Meanwhile,  I’ve been very active in my community as a dance coordinator for my former high school’s marching band. In addition, I’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to feature some of my creations through dancewear and other garments as a local fashion designer for Norfolk State University’s Hot Ice Dance team and other organizations on campus as well as in the community with different high school dance teams. This has truly been a graceful but challenging ride thus far.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens? 

Wilson: To the 2015 Campus Queens, remember to always wear the crown in your heart and not on your head. No matter how high and low life may take you, God is the center of your joy.  You are royalty and will always be a Queen.

Shayma Sulaiman, 2014 Miss Hampton University 

Favorite part about being an EBONY Magazine Campus Queen?

Sulaiman: My favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen was the experience! It was so empowering meeting up with my sister Queens. We are all extremely busy, and it was a true treat hanging out and working with EBONY’s awesome team. It was a memorable weekend filled with glitz and glamour.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Sulaiman: I’ve been traveling since graduation. I backpacked through Europe for two and a half weeks. It was an awesome experience to immerse myself in different cultures. Next stop, Aruba! I am also an admission counselor at Hampton University, so I travel a lot for my job. I also get to meet and help guide students who are interested in Hampton, which is extremely fulfilling.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens?

Sulaiman: My advice for the 2015 Campus Queens would be to find your own path! Don’t worry about expectations from your family and or peers. Always carry yourself with grace and dignity. Work hard, and have a ton of fun!

Ayanna Spivey, 2014 Miss Southern University and A&M College

Favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen? 

Spivey: My favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen was the bond made with the other nine Queens.  Though most of us already knew each other prior to the shoot, we have gained a closer relationships and I believe we will be lifelong friends.  Being featured has also given me the opportunity to speak at various events and encourage the youth to attend HBCUs.

What have you been doing since graduation? 

Spivey: I graduated from Southern this past December with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in social work and sociology.  I moved back home to California and will be attending California Baptist University pursuing a master’s degree in higher Education leadership and student development.  I am also in the planning stages of my nonprofit, whose goals will be to share the opportunity of obtaining a degree from an HBCU and helping promote the relevance of the existence of HBCUs.  All proceeds will be used for scholarships for students and to help fund any HBCU programs that may need assistance.  I’m very excited for it to all be finished and to share my vision and passion with the world.

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens? 

Spivey: If I can give any advice for all the beautiful women who are vying to grace the pages of EBONY for the 2015 Campus Queens issue, I will say let God and your passion drive, and you will never lose.

Ambriya Neal, 2014 Miss North Carolina A&T

Favorite part about being an EBONY Magazine Campus Queen?

Neal: My favorite part about being an EBONY HBCU Campus Queen was being able to connect with my sister Queens! We all had been talking throughout our entire reign, but we were not able to meet each other face- to-face. It was so beautiful to have this bond with a group of strong young African-American girls who took on the ENORMOUS responsibility of being the official face and representative of our HBCUs. It’s not an easy task, but it is our job to make it look so, and that is something only someone who has been through it can understand. Our bond is unbreakable! The glitz, glam and networking were just all a plus! Mitzi, EBONY’s editor-in-chief at the time, was amazing and made us all feel like true queens!

What have you been doing since graduation?

Neal: I transitioned to Atlanta soon after I graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communication. With an ultimate goal of becoming a television personality and host dealing with fashion and entertainment, I made the decision to up and move to follow my dreams. Though it is a work in progress, I have been able to meet great people in the industry, working and continuing to mentor young girls. I was able to work with the media team for Bronner Brothers Hair Show, attend the Official Entertainment Gala and red carpet event, be featured in a Top 10 chart artist video, styling. And as a substitute teacher, I have the opportunity to travel across the county and speak about the importance of education, self-esteem and sex education as I did during my reign. I have also begun writing scripts! In June, I will be competing for Miss Black Atlanta as a prelim for Miss Black Georgia! I am only going up from here!

Any advice for the 2015 Campus Queens?

Neal: As I tell my baby Queens, stay true to YOU! Keep God first, and understand the purpose of your reign. Each Queen will travel to a crown, but everyone’s path will be totally different. Support one another, and prepare for life after graduation! Stay sincere, because people see through false emotions. Embrace your experience because you will blink, and it will be over. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. And remember, you no longer just represent you but your entire university and alumni. And from the No. 1 HBCU of 10,600 plus students, something I am proud of not boasting, LOL, I send love, support and prayers to you all, and good luck!

Remember to vote for your favorite 2015 HBCU Campus Queens HERE!

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