N.C. A&T’s Clark, Mungo Selected for Collegiate Black Male ONYX25 Cohort

July 13, 2023
Rising seniors and 2023 ONYX25 recipients Ja’Juan Clark, from Lake View, South Carolina, and Jaquel Mungo, from Charlotte, North Carolina. Rising seniors and 2023 ONYX25 recipients Ja’Juan Clark, from Lake View, South Carolina, and Jaquel Mungo, from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Two North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University students have been selected to participate in the 2023 ONYX25 Recognition and Leadership Program.

The ONYX25 Program celebrates collegiate Black men nationwide who have proven themselves as role models for their respective campuses and community while supporting them in taking their talent to the next level. The program is curated from their participation in The Collegiate Black Male (CBM) Network.

Ja’Juan Clark a rising senior from Lake View, South Carolina, studying applied engineering technology, and Jaquel Mungo, a rising senior from Charlotte, North Carolina, studying criminal justice, represent N.C. A&T in this year’s program.

The CBM Network is a nonprofit created to help colleges and universities increase the persistence and graduation rates of collegiate Black men.

“What makes us different than a lot of other organizations is that we don't have a specific major requirement,” said Darryl Hylton, Ed.D., co-founder and CEO of The CBM Network. “We don't have a specific GPA requirement. We don't have a specific school requirement. We don't have any of those requirements because we recognize that those are barriers. We are committed to helping Black men succeed and we're going to help Black men succeed, however they come into the space.”

ONYX25 cohort alumnus and former Mister A&T Curtis Shannon Jr. encouraged Clark and Mungo to apply to The CBM Network.

“I figured it could help me navigate through collegiate spaces as a Black male,” said Clark.

As part of the direct service model, The CBM Network provides young men with five phases of personal, professional, and leadership development in a cohort-style approach:

Phase I – Building Community. Newly accepted students are engaged in Pre-Onyx 25 activities to build community amongst the cohort.

Phase II – Outward Service. Students work on developing hard, soft and technical skills to prepare them for success in their respective careers. Different professionals come and facilitate sessions on various topics such as professionalism, navigating the workspace as a black male, resume critiques, and overall career development tips.

Phase III – Inward Journey. Students reflect on how their personal leadership journey and story will impact their future. They do a deep dive as to what their identities are, how they show up in different spaces, how they present themselves to the world, and how they want the world to them as.

Phase IV – Professional Mentoring. Participants are connected with leading professional mentors in their respective industries who are directly aligned with their career interests.

Phase V – Alumni Support. Upon completion of the program, students are inducted as ONYX25 alumni and provided continuous support as they persist towards graduation and into their careers.

Phase I begins Jan. 3 and concludes with the completion of Phase V, which begins June 13. Each phase last six weeks so that participants receive guidance during most of their spring semester.

Clark said his favorite experience was a mental health conversation he engaged in during Phase III.

“It was just the conversations we had and them being there as Black males and letting us know like that we’re all human,” he said. “It made me realize that I don’t have to be in a serious manner all the time. There is some time where I can actually take a break and look back on things and just breathe.”

Clark intends to become a computer engineer. Along with developing social networking skills in the program, he received clarity on his future career goals and how he wants to achieve them from the mentor he was paired with in the program.

“He’s been very helpful,” Clark said. “He's kind of guiding me along the path of showing me things that I would have to change. So, when I do graduate, I will know certain things won't make the mistake of doing certain things in front of particular executives or people that may hire me in the future.”

Mungo, who aspires being a criminal defense attorney, partnered with a mentor who is a criminal defense attorney in Georgia.

“I would say I have an advantage,” said Mungo. “I get to talk to him to know more about the field and even get to sit in on some cases as well.”

For Mungo, mentorship was a new experience for him. “I've never had a mentor, but I've always wanted one. Just someone to guide me,” he said. “Now that I have that I do enjoy having one.”

“It’s always a joy to see the outcome and impact of our work as an organization,” said Hylton. “The gentlemen accepted into the program trust our process, and we are fully committed to their success during (and beyond) college.”

“In this Collegiate Black Male Network, there's always someone that's going to have your back,” said Mungo. “There's someone always looking out for you.”

“To anybody that's thinking about joining it, it's definitely a good way to develop as a professional and as a Black male in college,” said Clark. “It's definitely good to help you develop these different key aspects of things that you may need in the future. So, to anybody that that's thinking about doing it, I would tell them to do it.”

“This opportunity definitely has opened up new some opportunities and it’s great for networking,” said Mungo. “I definitely say that this experience has been a 10 out of 10.”

About North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically Black university, as well as its top ranked (Money magazine, Best Colleges). It is a land-grant, doctoral university, classified as “high research” by the Carnegie Foundation and a constituent member of the University of North Carolina System. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was founded in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.