A 20-year-old junior at Bowie State University student was appointed by President Joe Biden to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the White House announced Thursday.
Paige Blake, a Prince George’s County native, is majoring in biology is on a pre-med track. She plans to attend medical school and study neurology to help others with spina bifida and other neurological conditions, according to a biography on the White House website. When Blake was 4, she was diagnosed with sacral agenesis, a form of spina bifida.
Blake uses her personal experience to help advocate for others, according to her bio, by organizing donation drives with her Girl Scout troop to send medical supplies to countries overseas and working with the Congressional Black Caucus and former President Barack Obama’s White House Initiative on African American Excellence to advocate for disabled students.
Blake is among the nine men and nine women Biden is appointing to the advisory board on historically Black colleges and universities. Several HBCU presidents, the president of United Airlines, actor Taraji P. Henson, NBA player Chris Paul and the first Black woman to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency are among Biden’s selections.
The board will advance the goal of the HBCU Initiative, established by the Carter administration, to increase the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.
The White House said the administration has committed $5.8 billion in support to these historically Black colleges and universities through a combination of pandemic relief funding, grants and forgiving capital improvement debt.
Javaune Adams-Gaston, the president of Norfolk State University, Virginia’s largest HCBU, was also named to the board. Adams-Gaston previously worked at the University of Maryland in various positions, including psychologist, associate dean in academic affairs, assistant athletic director, equity administrator and graduate faculty member.
HBCUs in Maryland in addition to Bowie State are Morgan State University and Coppin State University in Baltimore and University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne in Somerset County.