Two Xavierites Named 2021-2022 American Heart Association HBCU Scholars


The American Heart Association (AHA) has selected Xavier students Joshua Lewis and Kennedy Singleton for their 2021-2022 HBCU Scholars Cohort. 

As HBCU Scholars, Lewis and Singleton will participate in an academic-year research experience and engage in virtual leadership workshops. They will also attend both the AHA's International Scientific Sessions, the largest cardiovascular disease conference in the world, and the annual AHA HBCU Scholars Research Symposium. Each scholar will receive a stipend for their participation in the program, which begins on September 15, 2021.

"Being selected as an American Heart Association HBCU Scholar for 2021 - 2022 is such a huge honor," said Singleton about her selection. "I am excited to start this journey and hope that my research will help me identify ways to achieve my ultimate goal of bringing an end to health disparities."

Singleton is proud to uphold the College of Pharmacy's mission of eliminating health disparities. She has a passion for improving health equity, which stems from the fact that so many Black and African American community members are disproportionately affected by health disparities. As a future pharmacist, she is determined to do whatever she can to close that gap. 

Singleton is a native of New Orleans and is in her third year at Xavier's College of Pharmacy. She says that she chose Xavier not just for its status as an HBCU but also for its excellent Doctorate of Pharmacy program. She credits Xavier for her success as a student and professional, citing the qualities ingrained from her Xavier education as responsible for her excelling as an HBCU scholar.

Lewis is participating in Xavier's dual-degree engineering program in biomedical engineering with a minor in mathematics. Lewis is confident that he will graduate with better-rounded skills through the dual-degree program, as he hopes to work with biologists, biochemists, and other biomedical professionals. 

Lewis said that he had always known that he wanted to do something with STEM, but it wasn't until an incident with his father that he found guidance on what direction he wanted to go. Watching his father's struggles to recover from surgery left Lewis determined to find ways to improve medical equipment and materials for the increased comfort of patients during rehabilitation and recovery from injury or surgery.

Family was also central to his decision to attend Xavier. Though he grew up in Maryland, Lewis' family is originally from the south, and he has many relatives still in the area. Like Singleton, he said that he chose Xavier for its reputation as an excellent HBCU, but for Lewis, it also gave him the chance to connect with his southern roots and family still in the area. 

Lewis admits that the academic rigor of Xavier has pushed his limits but that it also taught him to be independent and outspoken. He said that his time as a Xavierite has helped him reach even greater heights. He finds much of what he learns in the classrooms and labs applicable in other situations, including his activities as an AHA HBCU Scholar.

"Always keep your head up, despite everything that seems hard about university, because it will open many opportunities in the future," Lewis said.