2014 HBCU TOP 30 UNDER 30

30 – Jesse Sneed – Prairie View A&M University

jesseMaya Angelou Public Charter School is an Alternative High School in Washington, DC where at-risk students and students who have suffered from traumatic events attend. Jesse currently works there full as a residential counselor in one of two of the school’s male houses, as well as a part time counselor.  In his current job role, he is responsible for the well being of about 10 young men ranging from ages 15 to 20 years old Monday-Friday.  During the week Jesse, feeds, tutors, counsels, and bonds with the males of his house.  More extraordinary is Jesse’s non- profit foundation, The J.E.S.S.E. Foundation- Just Empowering Student Success through Education which aims to empower, equip and expose parents and adolescents to resources and alternatives that are available in the community. This foundation hopes that these resources will provide assistance to members in under-served communities with achieving any goals or dreams to obtain a higher education that will have a significant impact on their future.

Jesse has consistently defied the odds by surviving a impoverished neighborhood in Texas, attending and graduating from Prairie View A & M University, attaining a master’s degree at Howard University, and establishing his very on non-profit organization.  J.E.S.S.E Foundation – http://jessefoundation.com/home.php 

29 – Amber McGill – Bennett College

imageAmber McGill is a third generation Bennett Belle who is excelling in her academics, serving her community with her entrepreneurial gifts and talents, and honoring God by serving Him in ministry.  Amber is a Dean’s List Scholar majoring in Business Management with a double minor in Economics and Entrepreneurship. She is the Founder and CEO of a organization called Project Potential.  Project Potential, founded in Prince George’s County, Maryland in 2010, is a leadership development and mentoring program for women, by women. Our mission is to educate, motivate, and empower young women to reach their greatest potential. Amber honors God by serving as an active member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. Ms. Amber McGill is a Christian young woman who is an outstanding Bennett College student, amazing entrepreneur as well as a beautiful woman of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Ms. McGill has strived for and maintains a 4.0 GPA at Bennett College, was elected as Bennett College’s 2014-2015 Student Government Association’s Financial Secretary, has performed countless of hours of selfless community service both at college, in her college community and within her home community but most recently completed a service project at the Glenwood Recreation Center. She is an awesome entrepreneur and visionary having founded and established Project Potential/G.L.A.M. Girls in three states. Project Potential/GLAM Girls is an organization established to educate, empower, motivate young girls from ages 9-18. She also is an entrepreneur with Younique, an organization established to uplift, empower, validate, and ultimately build self-esteem in women around the world. Website http://www.project-potential.com/

28 – Reshad Favors | Florida A&M University 

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.16.59 PMReshad Favors is Courts and Criminal Justice Fellow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He is a recent graduate of Florida A&M College of Law where he earned his Juris Doctorate. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida.

His decision to attend law school came from his passion to help those who were underrepresented. During his childhood, Reshad stood witness to many injustices in his neighborhood and wanted to use his talents to effectuate change. As a result, he fostered his abilities into empirical results. In law school, Reshad dedicated himself to causes such as Homelessness, where he helped indigent clients with legal issues. Reshad was also a part of a collaborative group who explored strategies to best expedite a high-profile federal prisoner’s clemency. Reshad, along with the help of the group, forwarded research on specific legal issues for this prisoner to use in his case.

Reshad believes in being a beacon for those in need of his guidance. To further his belief, he served at-risk youth in the community by offering guidance and personal life experiences to bolster mentee morale. Most importantly, Reshad firmly believes in qualities espoused to him by his parents of hard work and dedication to a craft. Reshad used these axioms as a roadmap to guide him on his life journey. Reshad served as an Ambassador for his law school and was a member of the American Bar Association. Reshad proudly hails from the Northside of Jacksonville, Florida.

27 – M. Carson Bryd – Hampton University

carson-39M. Carson Byrd is a 2013 graduate of the prestigious Global Master’s Program in International Relations from Webster University.  Currently, Carson serves as Principal of The Carson Byrd Group, LLC, a global consulting firm.


While in pursuit of a Global Master’s Degree, Carson traveled extensively with two-month residential rotations in the Netherlands; Geneva, Switzerland; London, England; Beijing, China; and Vienna, Austria where he analyzed aspects of international law, the politics of global development, and issues related to globalization. During his study abroad Carson achieved membership at The Royal Institute of International Affairs at the Chatham House. Carson excelled through the accelerated 13-month program and obtained his degree, with Honors.


Prior to completing his Masters, Carson served as the first Assistant Director of Young Alumni Development at Hampton University and as a Student Development Counselor at Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, DC.


Carson Byrd is a 2011 Honors graduate of Hampton University, where he majored in History and served as Captain of the Hampton Pirates football team. Carson is a natural born leader and has held keys roles in various organizations, included but not limited to, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., The League Inc., and Suited Lifestyle, LLC. Beside his work as the head of his consulting firm, Carson is public speaker and a lifestyle brand connoisseur. His brand “Just Know Im Workin” was launched in late 2013 and is currently in product development to accompany the self- development component of the company. A champion at event planning, Byrd has become a Master Brand Developer. With over 100 plus events globally under his belt, Carson has established himself as a credible individual in the world of high-end events. Carson plans to complete his PhD and forge his marketing skills with his passion for community improvement by opening a brand of charters school in urban communities, while he works towards his goal to become a HBCU college president.


26 –  Kyle O’Quinn – Norfolk State University

act_kyle_oquinnAmerican professional basketball power forward with the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played for the Norfolk State Spartans, and led the Spartans to a victory over the #2 seed Missouri Tigers in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. He was drafted in the second round of the2012 NBA Draft with the 49th overall pick by the Orlando Magic.

He recorded just his second double-double of the season, and put together a strong performance overall. He scored 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting and added 13 rebounds, while blocking four shots, and dishing out one assist with one steal in 31 minutes. After appearing in 57 games last season, O’Quinn has seen his role increase. He is averaging 5.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 64 games.

25 – Brittney Shardae – Claflin University

10277343_10203822402829195_5902877489510353402_nBrittney Carter is a 2011 graduate of Claflin Univeristy in Oarngeburg, SC and has achieved a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations with a concentration in Communications.  With a dedicated work ethic and ambitious persona, Brittney successfully secured professional development opportunities while utilizing professional networks that allowed her to prematurely advance in her career. Brittney S. Carter currently holds the position with DC Office on Aging as Communications Specialist while also owning her own Event Planning business. She is known to go above and beyond in her line of work and this is what led her to become founder, and CEO of B. Carter Event Planning & PR.

Brittney. S. Carter was born on April 2, in Allendale, S.C., and then relocated to Mullins, SC in 1996. She attended Mullins High during her four year tenure. Following high school, she attended Claflin University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations. Subsequent to college, she left South Carolina to pursue her dreams in Public Relations and Marketing. Carter began working in public relations in 2011, when she was employed as Events and Communications assistant for the largest charter school network in Washington, D.C. After seven months of working, she was promoted to Events and Communications Coordinator.

In 2013, she was appointed Public Relations and Event Strategist, serving as lead public relations practitioner for Friendship Public Charter School under the Chief Operating Officer. Shortly after, her communications and event planning skill-set was being noticed all over the Metropolitan area, which led her to her next career journey as Communications Specialist for D.C. Office on Aging. Since October 2013, Carter served as marketing and event planning assistant for the nation’s largest Public Relations Organization; PRSA-NCC. While there, she earned a reputation for being loyal, hard working, and full of fresh new innovative ideas. While she was still working for the charter school, Carter started B. Carter Event Planning & PR, a freelance event planning and public relations firm specializing in planning and creating professional events. Furthermore, she is an advocate for empowering women for professional success. In her spare time she is a fashion/wardrobe consultant and blogger, enjoys reading, nature and traveling.

24 – Farrin Hymon – Spelman College

FarrinHymonFarrin Hymon is the founding owner of FARRINHEIT Entertainment & Media. FARRINHEIT is a nickname given to Farrin by kids at her school when she was younger, deriving from her name “Farrin Hymon.” Still to this day, she gets called “Fahrenheit” by strangers as reference to remember her name when they first meet her.

FARRINHEIT Entertainment & Media (FEM), is a full service company specializing in creative directing, media training, public relations, production, entertainment and media. FEM seeks to help its clients blaze along their dreams, in creating positive buzz in media and the community, as well as memories that will last forever. FARRINHEIT 411 was the beginning vision of FEM.  Farrin created FARRINHEIT 411 because of her love and passion for entertainment & popular culture! Her interest in entertainment and music began at a very young age. Although she is a fan of several genres of music, Farrin’s true passion in music and entertainment lies within Hip-Hop culture.  Growing up with her father working as a celebrity bodyguard, Farrin became very knowledgeable of the behind scene works of the sports and entertainment industries. She worked along side of her father’s company to learn what it took to become an entrepreneur of her own. Her knowledge of the business along with knowing everything and everyone in it, and her own background in acting and music, inspired  her to become an entertainment blogger in college. Determined to blaze her own path into entertainment, she’s explored a new avenue in her career creating FARRINHEIT 411, as a way for her to deliver “the 411” on what’s happening in entertainment.

Farrin moved to Atlanta in 2010 to attend Spelman College, where she gained experience working in entertainment which included film & event production, event planning, product placement, and public relations. She began blogging in early 2012 as a hobby, and discovered over time her interest in blogging began to turn into something she really loved doing. It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 she decided to take blogging to the next level and created FARRINHEIT 411.

23 – Nick Arrington – Tuskegee University

574541_737786254037_1227266439_nNick attended Tuskegee University on a full ride scholarship to play baseball and earned degrees in Business Administration and Sales and Marketing. While at the University, Nick truly made his mark on the campus and around the community  both as a part of the general student body and as a member, and later Polemarch, of TU’s Gamma Epsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. What makes Nick most worthy of this title, however, is what he’s done with his life since graduating from TU.

Shortly after graduating in 2008, Nick set off to start a career in New York. He travelled through a number of positions with corporate America, but took root as an analyst for Barclays. Though he began his time at Barclays in New York, he was offered the opportunity to work for their London office for a year. He resides in the United Kingdom presently, and will continue in that position until September of this year. Simultaneously, Nick is pursuing a Master’s degree in extension studies at Harvard University. He is taking classes online until he returns to the States in the Fall.

Nick is making the most of his time in the UK, having visited Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Australia, and still eager to experience more. But, in all his pursuits and obligations, he never loses sight of his two loves: family and fashion.

22 –  Daryl Joy Walters – Wiley College

img_9677Daryl “DJW” Joy Walters is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. Daryl Joy is a graduate of the renowned Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and is also a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

Outside of her academic success, her life is dedicated to being politically and actively involved within her community. DJW served five years as the Vice President of Communications to the Young Democrats of Louisiana. In 2012, she was elected to serve the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a student, Wiley College highlighted her as the “Community Servant of the Year” in 2012. The Theta Chapters of Zeta Phi Beta and Omega Psi Phi credited DJW for being selected as their “Female of the Year”. In the November 2012 edition of ESSENCE Magazine DJW was proudly recognized as possibly “America’s 1st Black Female President.” During the summer of 2009, DJW began her journey in the Louisiana State Legislature as a Senate Aide. She has also, interned for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Battle Ground Texas, Obama for America. In 2014, she served as a Financial Assistant to Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Juliette Kayyem.

DJW has a strong commitment to family values, community engagement and social advocacy. As a supporter of fight against violence on college campuses and research for the cure to Alzheimer’s, she is a leader in her own right. DJW knows that she stands on the shoulders of giants and leaders, who have paved the way for her success. It is for these reasons that she fights passionately for the under-represented and the underserved in our communities.
Daryl Joy Walters is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, initiated in the Alpha Iota Chapter. She is also a faithful member of the Mount Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, where Dr. Harry Blake Sr. is the Pastor.

21 – Rachel Blanks, M.Ed | Florida A&M University

speakingRachel believes that NO ONE has the right to waste a day in the life of a child and she lives that everyday. She may not be the top promoter, singer, entrepreneur, politician, spokesperson, etc, but because of her passion for teaching and empowering young people to learn and succeed, she is deserving of being listed in the top 30 under 30! -Rachel’s passion is youth and empowering them to be successful—spiritually, academically, physically, socially, and financially. She is known as The Domestic Diva—a name given as a television name by the local station in FL where she regularly taped cooking segments. She is currently finishing her first cookbook and has been featured in the National Pie Championships as seen on The Today Show and Food Network. She serves as a 5th grade teacher within the Dayton Public Schools System and enjoys helping youth reach their full potential.

After winning a business pitch competition and receiving a $10,000 grant for her bakery business, Rachel still wanted to give back even more to her school community. She gathered other young entrepreneurs in her network and they designed a user-friendly Young Entrepreneurs curriculum to be used in the summer of 2011 during the 21st Century Summer Program! The students learned basic business principles and received the tools they needed to start their very own business no matter how small. The classes also developed their very own small business in a micro-society setting! In Dayton Public Schools, Rachel has served on the District Academic Achievement Team, Emerging Principals Institute, and her school Building Leadership Team. She is involved with youth empowerment activities that encompass volunteer work, academic prowess, and character building. She Currently serves as the mid-west region representative on the FAMU NAA fundraising committee and actively recruits high school seniors for scholarships to Florida A&M University through her alumni activities. Named School Related Employee of the Year for Bond Elementary School, Leon County School District, and the entire state of Florida in 2011, receiving recognition from the superintendent of local schools and the state.

Currently teaches an innovative place based curriculum at Wogaman 5-8 School. She has acquired over $1,000 worth of educational supplies and resources for students in this program through Donors Choose grants and coordinated speakers and visitors for the students from health food experts from community markets to a federal judge.  Chosen as local educator for Working for You Spot on channel 2 and is currently a finalist for the National MLB/People Magazine/Target All Star Teachers Program. Her current project is transforming the school cafeteria into The HBCU Dining Hall of Success. The walls will feature each of the 106 HBCUs from across the country, in an attempt to inspire the 5-8 graders to think about college before high school. Rachel is a wife, mother, entrepreneur (owns Cupcake Cookie Couture), teacher, friend, role model, motivational speaker, and advocate for children and minority rights.

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