In 2018, the University of Louisiana System established the Reginald F. Lewis Educational Equity Initiative to house its strategic interventions to recruit, retain, and graduate students prepared for life and career success at an unprecedented scale.
The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Program has given two Louisiana Tech University students the opportunity to expand their college experience beyond the classroom, offering them the chance and support needed to excel in the world of higher education and beyond. Cameron Green of Peoria, Illinois, and Da’Voznik Armstrong of Shreveport are Louisiana Tech’s inaugural program participants.
Armstrong, a sophomore in Engineering, is excited about the connections that the program provided him during his short time at Tech.
“Moving to Louisiana Tech was different for me since there weren’t many people of color,” Armstrong said. “The program gave me connections to other black students and organizations that offered me a sense of belonging.”
Green, a sophomore in Graphic Design, said the Reginald F. Lewis program has made his college experience more fulfilling.
“After choosing to move here from Illinois, I knew that I wanted to experience more through a new state, town, and college life experience,” Green said. “Louisiana Tech and the program have provided me with the skills to succeed in the school of design here at Louisiana Tech.”
The program provides educational programs, mentoring opportunities, and co-curricular experiences to enhance the collegiate experience of black male students.
“The program has provided me with different educational opportunities that have expanded my view of college life as a whole,” Green said.
The program also offers these students connections to faculty and administration that share similar life experiences, among them Dean Sam Speed.
“Being able to connect with faculty and administration like President Guice and Mr. Speed has been a great opportunity,” Armstrong said. “It is inspiring to see that these men want to connect with students and give us advice when we need it.”
Speed, one of the program’s facilitators at Louisiana Tech, said the program provides connections for students that will prove invaluable later in their lives.
“The Reginald F. Lewis Scholarship Program and the experiences tied to the participants are some of the most impressive I have witnessed in my 30-year administrative career,” Speed said. “The scholarship is excellent; however, the research project, study abroad opportunity, service learning projects, and scholars retreats can transform the trajectory of these young scholars and leaders.
“These young men have already visited multiple campuses and met influential community and state leaders. In addition, they have engaged in community outreach. I’m proud to play a small role in serving these young men as a mentor as they progress through their journey.”
The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars Program was designed to enhance the collegiate experience of black males across the University of Louisiana System. Each academic year two rising sophomores will have the opportunity to apply for the Scholars Program. All applicants are vetted based on GPA, financial need, commitment to the evolving schedule of activities and opportunities offered both by the UL System and the University. Armstrong and Green hope to see more students with this opportunity to make connections and expand their college experience.
“I hope to see this program grow and become a strong representation of black male students,” Armstrong said. “This program is so important to me. It can help build better campuses for people of color across Louisiana by changing social norms and providing new opportunities.”
“I am honored to co-facilitate the Scholars program at Louisiana Tech along with Dean Speed,” said Dean Devonia Love-Vaughn, who leads diversity, equity, and inclusion work at Tech. “I had the great pleasure of contacting Da’Voznik and Cameron and informing them that they were selected for the first cohort of scholars. Both of them were blown away by the unprecedented opportunity of having their tuition and fees covered! These two young men are invested in making this program a success, not just for themselves but for future scholars as well.”
This story was written by Communication student Kelly Cole.