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Howard leaders reflect on their time in office, new horizons 

As the year is wrapping up, so are the tenures of student leaders across campus and they reflect on their experiences.

Mahlon West, 47th Mister Howard University, healthcare management major from Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of Mahlon West)

Mahlon West, the 47th Mister Howard University, said his favorite part about his tenure was the opportunity to connect with new students and community members he might not have otherwise been able to. 

“Being Mr. Howard really served as a connector between the student body, student government and administration,” West said. “Not only being an advocate for students but also being a relatable voice for students.”

Throughout his endeavors, West said he was able to provide students with opportunities to further develop their careers at Howard, and otherwise. His last initiative on campus involved hosting an essay contest where students would have the opportunity to discuss what kind of legacies they would leave the Howard community, and the chance to receive a scholarship. 

West said his favorite initiative though was bringing a group of Howard students to his former high school to discuss the importance of higher education and provide mentorship to Black students.

“To have this firsthand experience of students that look like you who have been successful in college, being able to see that was very inspiring,” West said. “Some of those students who were at that workshop applied to Howard got in and are even attending, and I got to host them during accepted students day. So it was just a full-circle moment. Without my platform, I wouldn’t have been able to do something like that.”

West hopes to work in the healthcare industry, improving the equity and accessibility of healthcare for minorities, whether that is primary care, healthcare coverage or health education, he said. His ultimate goal is to open care facilities in underserved neighborhoods, similar to the one he grew up in. 

Michael White, Mr. Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Media, journalism and film major, English minor from Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of Michael White)

Throughout his Howard career, Michael White was involved in multiple areas on campus, including his service as the Mr. Cathy Hughes School of Communications, executive secretary of the School of Communications Council and historian of Kappa Alpha Psi. 

Enterprise, reaching, entrepreneurship and preservation, White’s campaign for his most recent position, not only focused on the students of the communications department but the community as a whole. Throughout his tenure, White said he found it integral to use his platform to reach out to every member of the Howard community. 

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Most recently, White collaborated with Howard’s interpersonal violence prevention program to host “Denim Day,” spreading awareness of sexual assault. He also hosted an event, Demystifying Howard, to allow students on campus to meet representatives from different organizations on campus and to learn about opportunities to get involved. 

After graduating, White said he hopes to study cinematic arts at the University of Southern California. 

“When I first won my position, I felt like I had a clear vision of what it was that I wanted to do for the school,” White said. “But that changed as I actually sat in the position because I had more access to all students, I got to listen to more of what everyone’s needs were rather than just people in my campaign team, people who supported me.”

Autumn Ford, president of the School of Education student council, an elementary education major from Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Autumn Ford)

On campus, Autumn Ford served as the School of Education’s council president. Her main goal, she said, was to try to be an advocate for the student body, making sure they are heard and they have a person to rely on. 

Ford said that her favorite part of her tenure was the connections with classmates and other council members across campus she was able to make. 

After graduating, Ford will attend Columbia University to get her master’s degree in educational policy. She hopes to work at the US Department of Education, but wants to teach before dipping her toe in policy, she said. 

“Staying true to myself and staying true to my studies and my style of how I lead and how I do work is what I want to make sure that I’m taking to Columbia. It will be a very different experience from being at Howard and very different from how I grew up,” Ford said. “I’m really excited about this change, being in New York and being in grad school.” 

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Chandler Searcy, Mr. School of Business, honors international business major, supply chain concentration, Spanish minor from Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of Chandler Searcy)

For Mr. School of Business Chandler Searcy, being able to meet and satisfy the needs of students and cater to what they are hoping to receive from the School of Business was his favorite part about serving. 

Besides his most recent role on Howard’s campus, Searcy has also worked as the financial advisor for UGSA, head of photography for SOB’s council, class representative for the School of Business Honors Program and the President of Kappa Alpha Psi.

After graduation, Searcy will head to Goldman Sachs in Chicago to work with asset management. He said he is most looking forward to learning a plethora of different skills whether that’s technical skills, analytical skills or how to communicate and work with clients. 

“Having served in leadership positions, whether it be Mr. School of Business or financial advisor for UGSA, the ability to communicate and learn how to identify what it is that people value, and turn that into something that’s marketable; I think it’s something that’s already taking place in that setting,” Searcy said. “I look forward to being able to continue to do those things.”

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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