Northwestern Mutual announces first cohort of HBCU Connection scholars; will invest $2.5 million in over 130 diverse students

Nine Milwaukee students have been awarded inaugural scholarships from Northwestern Mutual’s new HBCU Connection scholarship.

The new scholarship, from Northwestern Mutual in partnership with All-In Milwaukee, aims to enrich the lives of students seeking education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Northwestern Mutual has pledged to invest more than $500,000 in scholarships to 36 students over the next five years, according to a press release. The goal behind the scholarship is to close gaps in academic opportunities by alleviating costs and providing career opportunities for its recipients.

The inaugural nine students, all from Milwaukee, will each receive $7,500 annually for their freshman and sophomore years in addition to offers for paid internship opportunities the summer of their junior and senior years. 

Each recipient will be able to use the funds from the scholarship to pursue their passions through education.

Alexandria Woods is one of the recipients of the scholarship. Her interests are in storytelling through creating art on stage or in film. Woods will be attending Howard University’s Theatre Arts BFA program.

Brooklyn Johnson will be studying psychology with a minor in marketing at Alabama State University this coming fall. Brooklyn sees it as both an educational and networking opportunity. Her passion to build relationships and drive to see others happy is the foundation behind her academic goals.

Bryant Johnson will also be attending Alabama State University. He has always had an interest in the medical field and plans to study biology. Bryant Johnson is hoping to join a variety of clubs and enter Greek Life to meet new people and build connections.

Izayah Briggs will attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to study software engineering. He has always valued and admired the skills and talents of historical Black figures throughout history. After his visit to the university, he felt an overwhelming sense of community and made his choice to attend. He hopes to become a full stack software engineer.

A future astrophysicist studying at Howard University, Lauren Hartlaub chose the university to be around people with the same shared experiences as her. She plans to work for NASA one day, but in the meantime her creativity drives her. Hartlaub enjoys painting, knitting, drawing and thrifting.

D’Essence Johnson was born to be in the spotlight. She will be attending Miles College and will major in communications with a focus on media and television. She chose Miles College because of her belief that it’s important to being surrounded by like-minded people at a school where excellence is expected.

Lyric Nelson is a future dermatologist with the goal of making an impact in her community by creating access to affordable healthcare. Nelson is looking forward to attending Zavier University in Louisiana in the fall as a biology pre-med major. She’s a self-proclaimed introvert and hopes to meet new people who can push her out of comfort zone.

Michael Lawrence has a big heart and a desire to help others. He will take the same path as his sister in attending Alabama A&M University. Lawrence plans on majoring in finance and has a passion for real estate — he hopes to one day become an entrepreneur and flip houses, but for now he wants to use the college experience to discover himself and learn independence.

The last of the nine, Savion Jarvis, will attend North Carolina University to study political science with the goal of becoming a political or grassroots organizer. He has a strong community presence in Milwaukee and is studying to support ways to serve his community.

In addition to the scholarship with All-In Milwaukee, Northwestern has pledged an additional $2 million towards its college completion program. The two have been partnered up since 2018, and the $2 million will allow 100 students to receive financial, academic, social, wellness and career-readiness support needed to attend and graduate college.