JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Several students with ties to Mississippi have been chosen to be part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which honors high-achieving scholars.

The program recognizes 86 undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

Among those being honored are Mississippi residents who attend institutions in the state: Rust College student Ganesa Williams of Columbus, Hinds Community College student Sydney Burks of Jackson and Alcorn State University student Kalon Johnson of Pickens.

Jayla Berry of Inkster, Mississippi, attends Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.

Alcorn State University student Iyunola Owoyemi of Nigeria; Jackson State University students Sydney Nelson of Snellville, Georgia, and Alexandria Williams of North Little Rock, Arkansas; and Mississippi Valley State University student Kristopher Bond of Harvey, Illinois, were also selected for the program.

Scholars represent 54 of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. They were selected from more than 200 applicants.

“The students who hold this honor are committed to creating a more just and equitable society through their civic engagement,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release. “They are leaders and change-makers in their communities, and I cannot wait to learn from them as they serve as ambassadors both for the White House Initiative and their institutions of higher education.”

The students will participate in national and regional events and monthly classes to connect with nonprofit, business and federal leaders.

Some of the students will attend the 2021 HBCU Week national conference in September for sessions about entrepreneurship, innovation and personal and professional development.