More Than 100 Students to Attend African American Youth Leadership Summit


More than 100 West Tennessee high school sophomores are registered to attend the University of Tennessee at Martin WestStar Leadership Program’s first in-person ALStar African American Youth Leadership Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. The inaugural summit was held in 2021, and the conference was offered virtually until this year. The summit was originally set for Jan. 31 but was postponed until Feb. 14 because of inclement weather.

The ALStar Summit provides African American high school sophomores in West Tennessee the opportunity to learn from men and women business professionals, including a panel of UT Martin alumni from varying fields of study. Students will also learn about Blue Oval City and the positive impacts the complex will have on West Tennessee. Registered participants include 104 students from 14 counties and 17 school districts. Of that number, 29 students will represent 10 Madison County schools.

The summit will feature a keynote address from Dr. Mark McCloud, UT Martin vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. Other guest speakers include Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin chancellor; Kameron Echols, interim assistant director, UT Martin Multicultural Affairs; Mark Herbison, president and CEO, HTL Advantage; Michael Banks, attorney and CEO, Haywood Park Community Hospital – Brownsville; Sheronda Green, community engagement lead, Blue Oval City; Candice McCloud, UT Martin undergraduate admissions counselor; Samuel Williams, media strategist, Droga5; Brandon Jones, communications director, CivicTN; Porter Streator, financial advisor, Northwest Mutual; Dr. Charlotte Fisher, director of operations/assistant superintendent, Tipton County Schools; Matt Marshall, president and CEO, United Way of West Tennessee; and Dr. Youlanda Jones, president, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Ripley, Covington and Newbern. Students can also visit educational booths during the summit.

For more information about the ALStar African American Youth Leadership Summit, contact Jennifer Black, WestStar program manager, at, or Bud Grimes, UT Martin Office of University Relations, 731-881-7615.