SALISBURY, N.C. – A student at Livingstone College in Salisbury is getting a chance to represent her school on a national level.
What You Need to Know
- Varvara Papakonstantinou is among 86 students across the country chosen to be a 2021 HBCU Scholar
- It’s part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- The competitive program recognizes students for their achievements in academics, leadership and civic engagement
Varvara Papakonstantinou is one of 86 students across the county who have been chosen to be a 2021 HBCU Scholar. It’s part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“I cried,” Papakonstantinou said. “I was so happy, and my parents were really proud of me.”
About 200 students were nominated by their school’s president. Papakonstantinou found out about her selection while she was at home in Greece over the summer.
“I came here for better opportunities, and I feel like that’s my way of showing it,” Papakonstantinou said. “And representing my country means even more.”
Papakonstantinou moved to the United States to play basketball for a high school in Charlotte.
“I sent videos, and they recruited me,” Papakonstantinou said.
Papakonstantinou fell in love with the game at a young age after her dad convinced her to switch from playing tennis.
“I love teamwork,” Papakonstantinou said. “Working with everybody, you see different minds working together.”
Papakonstantinou is part of the women’s basketball team at Livingstone College. She is hoping to be a team captain next year when she’s a senior.
“I feel like people need to take me more seriously cause I’m too nice, and I giggle a lot,” Papakonstantinou said. “I feel like I need to be more confident and show them I can be a leader too.”
Papakonstantinou is also part of the track and field team and the honor’s society. She’s also a student ambassador for the school’s vaccine program, and she works for the admission’s office.
“I love being busy,” Papakonstantinou chuckled.
Papakonstantinou hopes being part of the HBCU Scholar program will shine a light on her leadership skills. In September, she was able to attend a virtual conference held by White House staff.
“We learned a lot,” she said. “We had a lot of networking opportunities, internship opportunities, and we connected with other HBCU Scholars.”
As a business administration major, she also looks forward to meeting with top industry leaders across the country.
“Each month, they’re going to bring in people from FDIC, NASA and other departments,” Papakonstantinou said.
Six other students in North Carolina were selected to be HBCU Scholars. Two from North Carolina A&T University, two from North Carolina Central University and two from Shaw University.
All HBCU Scholars are planning to visit the White House in April.