Prairie View A&M University is among one of the 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to receive a $200,000 grant designed to create a pipeline of connections, opportunity and increase in diverse representation in the media industry.

The grant was given by The Propel Center, a global leadership hub for an innovation hub for HBCUs, and part of Apple’s nationwide investment in Racial Equity and Justice.

The financial support will provide PVAMU’s Department of Languages and Communication with the opportunity to produce a weekly magazine program called “HBCU Today: Propel to Excel”, a show amplifying the accomplishments of HBCU students, faculty, and staff across the nation.

“The goal for this show is two-fold. Number one, is to give our students an opportunity to cover stories, do investigative research, to enhance their experience outside of the walls of Prairie View. The other is to forge relationships with some of the other HBCUs and communication programs,” said Assistant Professor of communication and director of TV production Dr. Teresa Dowell-Vest. 

“What I’ve learned working in the Houston market is that we live in a region where film and television is not necessarily a forethought industry so this will open doors for students to network across with their fellow HBCU peers nationwide.”

This is the first time they’re receiving funding for the show and this program will give students the practical experience they need to be competitive in the workforce.

“Being at an HBCU is an empowering experience. We need our stories and our voices heard in all facets of the media industry. I can’t wait to for people to see what these students will produce this year.”

Carrington Allen, 22, is a senior Mass Communications major who will be participating in the new program. Her dream is to become a television host and producer and says the show will give her a leg up in the highly competitive media landscape.

“This program is amazing. Being here at an HBCU feel like family. They are here to encourage you but also give you constructive criticism,” Allen said. “We gain so much experience in a short amount of time, Professor Dowell-Vest works hard to give us the best educational experience. There is a sense of security I feel especially after I graduate into the real world.”

Laura Onyeneho covers the city’s education system as it relates to Black children for the Defender Network as a Report For America Corps member. Email her at

Guided Tour of Newly Renovated PVAMU-TV Studio at Prairie View A&M University (Courtesy: Office of Marketing and Communications at PVAMU)

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...