Initiative Leadership

Cooper photo

Dr. George E. Cooper
Executive Director
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C134
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: (202)-205-4836
Executive Director Biography

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Dr. Ivory A. Toldson
Deputy Director
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C130
Washington, DC 20202
Phone: (202)453-5645
Deputy Director Biography


Mr. Ronald E. Blakely
Associate Director
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C132
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: (202) 453-5622
Ronald Blakely Biography

12162014 Meldon Hollis Official Portrait

Mr. Meldon Hollis
Associate Director
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C122
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: (202) 453-5626
Meldon Hollis Biography

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Ms. Sedika Franklin
Program Specialist (Communications)
Confidential Assistant to the Executive Director
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C126
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: (202) 453-5630 office

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Ms. Elyse Jones 
Program Specialist
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 4C128
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: (202) 453-5627 office

Meet our Summer Interns!

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Mr. Terrence Tarver
Doctoral Student, Howard Univerisity
African Studies and  International Policy
Telephone: 202-453-7022

Terrence B. Tarver is pursuing his Ph.D. Degree from Howard University in The African Studies Department focusing on International Policy in addition Terrence is a White House Intern on HBCUs at The United States Department of Education In this capacity he works with federal departments and agencies to assure HBCU access to federally- sponsored programs. His focus is on International Programs, Brother’s keeper Initiative and Stem Initiatives.

Prior to joining the White House Initiative in 2009 he served as Executive Director for one of the nation’s premier Opera Companies Opera Ebony, Terrence is a founding member ofAfrica Society Youth Advisory Committee under The National Summit on Africa. Tarver is a member of The Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and 100 Black Men Chapter of Greater Washington Area, and a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Washington, DC Chapter.

06092014 - HBCU Staff Photos

Mrs. Tracae McClure
Doctoral Student, George Washington University
Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Higher Education Administration

Tracae McClure serves as a summer intern in the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and University where her primary responsibility includes completing the annual report of federal agencies contributions to HBCUs. Tracae is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Her research interests include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, student financial aid, higher education policy and college access. Tracae’s interests derive from her experience as a research fellow at the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, former high school mathematics teacher, Teach for America alum, and native of the Sea Islands of South Carolina. In addition to her doctoral studies, Tracae serves as a graduate research assistant supporting professors with conference presentations, literature reviews, and data analysis.

Prior to her doctoral studies, Tracae completed a M.S. degree in Educational Research at the University of Memphis and B.S. degree in Mathematics from Hampton University.

Cheryl Mango-Ambrose Portrait

Mrs. Cheryl Mango-Ambrose
Doctoral Student, Morgan State University
History Major,  Concentrations in: African-American, African Diasporan, and Twentieth-Century US History
Telephone: 202-453-6410

Cheryl E. Mango-Ambrose is a native of DeRidder, Louisiana.   Cheryl is a 2009 undergraduate of Grambling State University where she obtained degrees in History and Political Science and a 2012 graduate of Louisiana Tech University where she earned a Masters of Arts degree in History. She is currently pursuing a PhD in History at Morgan State University, with concentrations in African-American, African Diasporan, and Twentieth-Century US History. Her research interests include African-American religion and Historically Black College and University (HBCUs) history. Her dissertation is currently in progress and focuses on HBCUs. She is currently a research assistant in Morgan’s History Department. She also teaches U.S. and African-American History at the Community College of Baltimore County. Cheryl is a member of numerous student, civic, and professional organizations including the National Council for Black Studies and Morgan State University’s President’s Leadership Circle. She is also the founder of Morgan State’s History, African-American and Museum Studies Graduate Council (HAFRAM GC). Cheryl also established and facilitates the Cheryl Eltonete Mango Book Scholarship for Grambling History Majors, which is housed on Grambling’s campus and given annually to two deserving students. She is currently the associate editor of the 2014 Compendium of U.S. Government Sponsored Research and Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In her spare time Cheryl enjoys watching black college sports and speaking on topics that relate to the African-American experience.

Amilca O'Conner Portrait

Ms. Amilca O’Conner
Graduate Student, University of the District of Columbia

In 2011 Amilca O’Conner interned at the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.  After evaluating The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP).  she saw a need to increase the number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) involvement within the program. It had become apparent that there was a need for program evaluation in order to recapture a missed opportunity. The WRP had not fully tapped into the intellectual capitol, of individuals who were currently attending HBCU’s. Ms. O’Conner restructured The WRP to encourage more HBCU’s to apply, and applications increased by 96%.

Upon completion of my internship she  decided to execute her research. Amilca applied and was selected to present at the 2012 National Rehabilitation Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, titled “The Workforce Recruitment Program, Increasing Participation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities”. In August of 2012 she was  selected and presented at the 2012 National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas, Topic: “The Workforce Recruitment Program, Increasing Participation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities”. Most recently, she presented at the  National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana Topic: “Life Unplugged: Taking Responsibility & Ownership for Your Success, Through The Eyes of A Graduate Student.

Amilca currently works as the Pathways Coordinator for Friendship Public Charter School.