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howard university

4 mins read

Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses (2023)

Howard University, a historic and esteemed institution nestled in the heart of Washington, D.C., has long been a catalyst for empowering Black professionals and fostering their entrepreneurial spirit.

Over its illustrious history, the university has produced a plethora of exceptional graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions across various industries. Among these remarkable individuals are the enterprising alumni who have carved their own paths as successful business owners.

In this article, we proudly highlight the achievements of Howard University alumni who have harnessed their education, determination, and unique perspectives to establish thriving enterprises.

Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses

Plots & Pans

Plots & Plants is a gardening consultation company with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Plots & Plants offers a wide range of services, from landscaping to maintenance. Owner: Dominique Charles (Class of 2006)

Samantha Rose Candle Company

The Samantha Rose Candle Company is an artisan candle company that creates all-natural soy candles and wax melts with phthalate-free premium fragrance oils. – Owner: Mackenzie Ofordire (Class of 2017)

Decor Ones LLC

Decor Ones LLC is a custom handmade decor company that specializes in rugs and wooden wall art inspired by music and Black culture. – Owner: Skylar Buchanan (Class of 2016)

Marsh + Mane

Marsh +Mane is a Philadelphia-based natural beauty supply store selling a curated selection of natural hair, skin, and beard products. – Owner: Jenea Robinson (Class of 2007)

Wellspring Manor & Spa

Wellspring Manor & Spa is a luxury bed and breakfast and spa located in Upper Marlboro, MD. The property is set on a seven-acre estate and features five suites, a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant. – Owner: Lisa Brown-Alexander (Class of 1992)

The Capstone Crate

The Capstone Crate, a premium subscription box service, is expertly curated with posh, fun, and trending products created by Howard Alumni who own their own businesses. Each quarter you will receive a themed box of products BY HU Alumni FOR HU Alumni at your door.  – Owner: Zerlne Hughes-Spruill (Class of 2099)

Rose Trolley

Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses

Rose Trolley is a local, family-owned micro-transit startup company that provides free door-to-door, low-speed, electric vehicle transportation in Palm Beach, FL. Rose Trolley primarily serves communities that are highly populated with seniors, and the disenfranchised. – Owner: Terrence Rich (Class of 1998)

The Spice Suite

Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses

The Spice Suite is a specialty spice shop and dream incubator located in Washington, D.C. It offers a variety of services, including spice retail, workshops, and a monthly pop-up shop for Black entrepreneurs.  – Owner: Angel gregorio (Class of 2008)

The LimeLight Collection

The LimeLight Collection is a luxury line of sparkling jewel-encrusted clutch purses to accessorize and celebrate the multi-faceted woman. – Owner: Ebony Sanon (Class of 2001)


Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses

BOOMBOX is the DMV’s first and only music-driven fitness boxing studio. BOOMBOX has been discribed as a “Fitness Day Party,” where you literally punch and exercise to the beat of music. – Owner: Reggie Smith (Class of 2000)

Michael Lavelle Wines 

Howard University Alumni Owned Businesses

Michael Lavelle Wines produces bold, flavorful wines made with grapes from California and Oregon. The company’s flagship wine is the Iris Rosé, which is bright and fruity with notes of strawberry, raspberry, and peach. – Owner: Terrance Low (Class of 2012)

The CEE Suite

The Cee Suite is a NY based, M/WBE certified talent management consultancy that specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). They partner with companies and nonprofits committed to building high-performing, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. – Owner: Cindy Joseph (Class of 2000)

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Howard University Swim Team Triumphs as the Only All-Black Team in College Swimming

The Howard University Swim Team is making history as the only all-Black team in college swimming, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations of Black swimmers.

Howard’s swim meets are now packed with students, university staff, and locals, complete with a performance by the Bisonette dance team and a lively atmosphere.

Coach Nic Askew, has been making waves in the competitive swimming world. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Coach Askew shared his insights on what it takes to build a successful swim team.

howard university swim team
Coach Nic Askew

He sees the unique energy at Howard’s swim meets as a testament to the program’s success. “Nobody in America can offer what we have in our pool,” he says. “Where else are you going to see this?”

As a former record-setting swimmer and all-conference tennis player at Howard, Askew brings a positive attitude to the team. He encourages his athletes to always look for the next challenge and make the most of every opportunity. Askew also has big plans for the swim program, including making Howard the touchstone for underserved communities across the country. “This is about our mission as a university and the message we want to send as an HBCU,” says Askew. “This isn’t a bunch of Black people in a pool; it’s young Black men and women succeeding in a sport that, for years, has shut them out of this experience.”

As the only remaining swim program at a historically Black college or university (HBCU), Howard is taking its responsibility seriously. Coach Askew and the staff make sure each swimmer understands the history of swimming among Black people and the school requires its undergraduate students to pass a basic swim test. Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick explains, “It’s about going into the wider world, seeing inequities and closing them down.”

Unfortunately, the statistics are grim. USA Swimming estimates that only 1.5% of the country’s 295,078 competitive swimmers are Black, and just 2% in college. This means that every year, many college swim coaches never speak to a single Black swimmer. However, roughly one-third of America’s Black college swimmers are at Howard, making a big impact on the sport. “How many of these kids would have continued swimming in college if it weren’t for Howard?” Askew asks. “How many of them would have felt the same kind of support they have here?”

Howard’s swim program is making a difference and changing the conversation about Black people and swimming. As Miriam Lynch, a former Howard swimmer and the executive director of Diversity in Aquatics, says, “Our team is on the front line of change.”

Cover image credit: Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated

5 mins read

Largest Collection Of Gordon Parks Photos Acquired By Howard University

Howard University and The Gordon Parks Foundation recently announced a historic acquisition of 244 photographs representing the arc of Gordon Parks’s career over five decades.

The breadth of the collection—which spans Parks’s earliest photographs in the 1940s through the 1990s—makes it one of the most comprehensive resources for the study of Parks’s life and work anywhere in the world.

The Gordon Parks Legacy collection, a combined gift and purchase, will be housed in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

The photographs serve as a rich repository for the development of exhibitions and multidisciplinary curricula that advances scholarship on Parks’s contributions as an artist and humanitarian.

Howard University’s acquisition is part of The Gordon Parks Foundation’s commitment to supporting initiatives that provide access to and deepen understanding of the work and vision of Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. Building on this partnership, the Foundation and Howard University are exploring future projects that draw on the collection to catalyze new research and joint programming.

“This landmark acquisition provides new dimension to studying the work and lasting impact of Gordon Parks through the context and resources of a university,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. “Gordon embodied the many values that Howard University stands for, making it a fitting home for engaging with one of the great chroniclers of Black American life.”

“Howard University is proud to be the recipient of such an important collection of work by African American artist and photojournalist Gordon Parks,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University. “Mr. Parks was a trailblazer whose documentation of the lived experiences of African Americans, especially during the civil rights period, inspired empathy, encouraged cultural and political criticism, and sparked activism among those who viewed his work. Having a collection of his timeless photographs in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center will allow Howard University faculty, students, and visiting scholars to draw on his work and build upon his legacy of truth telling and representation through the arts.”

“I am extremely excited about this historic acquisition by Howard University and this rich addition to Moorland-Spingarn’s collection,” said Ben Talton, Ph.D., Director of The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. “It fortifies Howard’s place as the premier institution preserving the legacy of the global Black experience. In addition to acquiring the nation’s largest Garden Parks collection, Howard University is gaining a partner in the Gordon Parks Foundation. This collection and this historic collaboration provide our students and faculty with direct access to Parks’ work and the resources of the Gordon Parks Foundation for research and teaching. As a photographer and filmmaker, Parks provided a unique narrative of the beauty and pain of the history of the United States during the second half of the 20th century.”

The collection traces Parks’s progression from early portraits of rising talents to becoming a leading photographer of Black celebrities through the subsequent decades.

Represented are Parks’s mid-career works Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun, New York, New York, 1959; Duke Ellington in Concert, New York, 1960; Louis Armstrong, Los Angeles, California, 1969; among other photographs of notable figures from the period.

The holdings also include photographs taken later in Parks’s career of subjects representing new generations of changemakers at the height of their emergence on the cultural scene, including portraits of the iconic fashion model Iman from the 1970s, and images taken in New York of Jazz musician Miles Davis in 1981, and filmmaker Spike Lee in 1990.


3 mins read

Howard University To Invest $785 Million in new Buildings and Renovations

Howard University will spend $785 million on new construction and building renovations, the largest real estate investment in the school’s history, officials announced today.

For the first time since 1984, Howard will be constructing new academic teaching centers on its campus. The majority of the funds ($670 million) will be used for the construction of new state-of-the-art multidisciplinary academic buildings, including the Health Sciences Complex, the Center for Arts and Communications, and the STEM Center.

The remainder of the investment will go toward major renovations to existing facilities on campus, including the Myrtilla Miner Building, which will house the School of Education and the Howard University Middle School for Mathematics and Science. These new construction projects are slated to begin this year and are expected to be completed by 2026.

“This is a watershed moment in the history of our institution,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “Thanks to the caliber of students we have enrolled, the illustrious faculty we have assembled, the dedicated staff we have hired, the committed alumni base we have cultivated, and the tremendously enhanced financial posture we have worked so hard to achieve, the state of the University has never been stronger. Now is the time for us to take decisive action for the future of our institution. We are poised to leverage the strength we possess in the present moment to solidify Howard’s status as one of the preeminent institutions of higher education in the country. The steps we are taking today will be validated by the world-changing work of our students, faculty and alumni and by the essential service Howard will provide to communities in need.”

For financial and logistical reasons, the University cannot initiate all necessary and desired construction projects at the same time.

“Major construction initiatives on college and university campuses requires years of planning. We have to strategically prioritize which projects to undertake based on numerous factors, both internal and external. The fact that we are now positioned to move forward with three large-scale new construction efforts in addition to major renovations speaks volumes to the administration’s long-term vision and execution,” said Rashad Young, senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “These capital projects are going to dramatically accelerate our ability to achieve the goals we outlined in the strategic plan. With these new buildings, we will further enhance academic excellence, inspire new knowledge and serve the community.”

Read the full statement here.

Related: Howard University Alumni owned businesses


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1 min read

Black Veteran & HBCU Grad Creates A Seven-Figure Clothing Brand

HGC Apparel is a Black veteran owned clothing brand founded by Marcia Smith,  a 90’s kid who’s passionate about the uplifting and expansion of the Black community.

black veteran
HGC Apparel founder, Marcia Smith

In this interview, we discuss how this mother and Howard University grad’s time in the military influenced her entrepreneurial journey. We also discuss what she has done to find success online and how she protects her intellectual property.

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Tony O. Lawson

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5 mins read

Charles White Painting Missing For Decades From Howard University Turns Up At Sotheby’s

A painting by a noted artist Charles White vanished from Howard University in the 1970s and hadn’t been seen publicly until it turned up at Sotheby’s Auction House last month — and now the school is suing to get back the piece that they believe was stolen from them decades ago.

Howard University, acquired the artwork, “Centralia Madonna,” in the 1940s after its creator, Charles White, completed an artist-in-residency at the school, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

The ink drawing depicts an African American Madonna figure and had been in the university’s possession until at least 1974, when a graduate student viewed the work in the school’s collection and made a record of the piece, according to the suit.

charles white
Centralia Madonna

At some point soon after, the artwork was stolen from the school’s collection and marked as “missing” by a university curator in 1976, according to the lawsuit.

Staff at the university hadn’t been able to locate it in the decades since — until Sotheby’s Auction House in Manhattan contacted them in May to let them know it had been consigned and was scheduled to be put up for auction.

Charles White in his Los Angeles studio, 1970 photo: Robert A. Nakamura

Staff at the auction house told administrators at Howard that two people from South Carolina, Larry and Virginia Borders, had consigned the painting but provided no paperwork showing how it ended up in their personal collection, according to the suit.

The Borders gave shifting stories about how they acquired the work, first saying they received it as a wedding gift from someone named J.D. Kibler in 1972, according to the suit.

charles white
Charles White, 1943, Photograph by Gordon Parks at age 25

They allegedly changed their story, claiming Kibler gave it to them as a gift for no particular reason — but couldn’t expand on their relationship with him, or even provide his first name.

“They claimed J.D. Kibler to be a close friend, they stated that they did not know what the ‘J.D.’ stood for,” the suit states.

In several phone calls and emails this week, the university demanded the Borders return the painting to the school, which the pair refused to do, according to the lawsuit.

The university filed the suit Friday, seeking the artwork’s return and attorney fees related to the legal action. The case is Howard University v Borders, 20-cv-4716, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(L-R) Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederickand Gwendolyn H. Everett, Ph.D., director of the Howard University Gallery of Art and associate dean for the Division of Fine Arts beside Five Great American Negroes, at the Howard University Law Library

The couple’s “claims are all the more implausible given that Howard University has never sold or de-accessioned any work from its collection, and would certainly not sell or de-accession a work by Charles White, a hugely significant Black artist with strong ties to the university,” Howard said in its lawsuit.

In addition to purchasing several of his works, Howard appointed White to a three-year professorship shortly before his death.

In a statement, Sotheby’s said they are a third-party and the ownership dispute involves the Borders and Howard.

“This is an ownership dispute between the University and the consignors, which follows Sotheby’s due diligence in researching the work’s provenance,” the auction house said.

“Sotheby’s is merely a third-party stakeholder and will comply with any decision of the court,” it added.


Sources: New York Post and Bloomberg

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5 mins read

2020 Howard University Graduate Earns Ph.D. at Age 73

On April 26, 2020, Florence Didigu, 73, defended her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. in Communication, Culture and Media Studies. Her dissertation and future book titled, “Igbo Collective Memory of the Nigeria – Biafra War (1967-1970): Reclaiming Forgotten Women’s Voices and Building Peace through a Gendered Lens,” is a reflection of the Igbo women who, like herself, survived the war.

Howard Grad
Florence Didigu

Didigu, who is the oldest of five sisters, is graduating from Howard University with her fourth degree as a prestigious Sasakawa and Annenberg Fellow. She is thankful to have made it across many hurdles.

“In my second year at Howard, and very close to my screening test, I lost my mother and my father within months,” said Didigu. “I had to return to Nigeria each time to perform the demanding burial ceremonies for each. I was completely deflated, both physically and emotionally, but I persevered because my father always wanted me to be a ‘Doctor.’”

Didigu also battled shingles, which paralyzed the right side of her face and she lost her voice. It was symbolic because it’s her life’s work is to elevate more Igbo women’s voices too. “I was unable to speak clearly; this was the greatest tragedy of all since I was teaching a sophomore research course! The day I started speaking again and was discharged from the hospital was a special life moment.”

Yet, what she overcame 50 years ago, the Nigerian-Biafra War, a civil war between the Igbo people and the Nigerian government, is one challenge she will never forget.

“The day the Nigeria-Biafra War ended, I, like everyone was wallowing in anxiety and fear about what would happen to us as the vanquished. A very optimistic gentleman came over to me and asked: ‘Why are you so sad; can’t you see you have survived this terrible war?’ I stood up, even though the Nigerian Airforce was on its last bombing raid, and leaped up in the air in mad glee, repeating to myself and others: ‘Yes, I have survived, I am a survivor!’ This powerful survival instinct in me, which I call daring, and God’s help, are what made me overcome all personal challenges during my doctoral program and get to where I am today!”

She was once a producer and writer at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and a broadcast regulator at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Nigeria prior to 2000. Upon graduation, Didigu plans to enter the professoriate and become a book author. She recently took courses at Howard in the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. She plans to continue research and scholarly writings, as well as mentoring students to inspire and educate “the future generation that will move this discipline forward and tackle the communications-oriented challenges of the future.”

Carolyn Byerly, Ph.D.,  Didigu’s advisor and chair of the Communication, Culture and Media Studies doctoral program, noticed the excellence within her, noting that “she embodies endurance and intellectual determination.”

“I admire the way she delved inside the most painful period of her life to find the focus of her research on women, war and peace.  While a personally-driven project, she maintained the highest level of integrity and never made the research outcome about herself.  Florence received the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship in her last year to conduct interviews with 10 female survivors of that war, and she used feminist standpoint theory to interpret their stories.  It is a beautifully researched, theorized and written dissertation that demonstrates exceptional Howard scholarship.”



1 min read

Howard University to receive $13 Million as part of Coronavirus Stimulus Package

The Senate unanimously passed an approximately $2.2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday night in an effort to jump-start an economy severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This coronavirus response package makes millions of dollars in funding available for Howard University through September 2021.

howard university
Washington DC, Howard University campus sign. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

The draft legislation calls for $13 million “to remain available through September 30, 2021, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including to help defray the expenses directly caused by coronavirus and to enable grants to students for expenses directly related to coronavirus and the disruption of university operations.”

As you can imagine, not everyone is happy about this news. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz took to Twitter, saying , “$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19. Instead, it’s going to Howard University. Education is important- but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”

What Gaetz failed to realize is that Howard is a federally chartered university that is rightfully owed emergency funding because Congressional appropriations fund the school, which also runs Howard University Hospital, a medical facility that has been designated one of DC’s COVID-19 treatment facilities.


-Tony O. Lawson

3 mins read

Howard University Teams With Amazon Studios To Launch Howard Entertainment

Howard University and Amazon Studios have teamed to launch Howard Entertainment, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other marginalized populations to train and study alongside entertainment executives.

Howard Entertainment

The immersive program, which kicks off January 2020, will be two semesters and take place in Los Angeles. It will include a unique interdisciplinary curriculum and will also include hands-on work as well as an opportunity to network with Amazon’s industry partners.

It will offer Howard University students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship embedded in the entertainment industry during the summer semester. The coursework will be applied to the student’s graduation requirements.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.

Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next level collaboration will enable us to have even greater impact.”

Howard Entertainment

“Amazon Studios has been working to create new pathways into the industry for talented students of all backgrounds and we are proud to team with Howard on this new program supporting aspiring entertainment leaders” adds Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

“As we strive to delight our Prime Video customers, we’re ensuring there are diverse perspectives and experiences around the table to help us make the best decisions in all aspects of the business.”

Howard Entertainment

To qualify, students must be enrolled as a Howard University student, must be an upperclassman or graduate student and will have to complete an application and interview to be considered for the program.

Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This will give students to work in projects that offer “real world” application and will help students develop “work ready” skills prior to graduating.

Source: Deadline

10 mins read

Howard University Swimmer and Siblings Going to 2020 Olympics

Howard University swimmer Latroya Pina of Seekonk, Massachusetts will swim for Cape Verde at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan alongside her siblings, Troy and Jayla,.

The siblings were selected to represent the Cape Verde National Swim Team in the Confederation Africaine de Natation Championship Meet, scheduled for Sept. 10-16 in Algeria.

Howard University Swimmer 
The Pina siblings – Troy, Latroya and Jayla

They learned recently they were selected to represent the Cape Verde National Team at the Confederation Africaine de Natation Amateur Swimming and Open Water Championship Meet, scheduled for Sept. 10-16 in Algiers, Algeria. They’re the first team the island African nation has fielded at the competition, a precursor to World Championships in South Korea in 2019 and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, to which the team is granted an automatic berth.

latroya pina

“It’s not far-fetched, three members of one family all going to the World Championships and the Olympic Games,” said Latroya, a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. “We’re not just swimming for our colleges or schools, but for a nation so we want to do our best.”

The Pinas swimming talent caught the attention of Cape Verdean athletic officials from an unlikely source – Facebook.

“Latroya received a message via Facebook about it, that somebody wanted to meet her,” said Maria Alfama, the siblings’ mother. “We thought that it was a scam!”

After initial contact with Latroya, the country’s swimming federation – which started in November 2017 — discovered Troy’s times.

“Our mom put up our performances on Facebook and somebody from the Cape Verdean government saw them,” said Troy, a sophomore at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. “They have people trying to find athletes for sports.”

troy pina

The Pinas were informed of their possible selection to the team in February, with their times tracked through an online database. Their mother Maria Alfama orchestrated the siblings’ paperwork to become dual citizens with the Cape Verde embassy in Quincy.

“It was a lot who was who,” Alfama said of coordinating the process with the embassy and the Cape Verdean Sports Ministry. “Once they found out that Latroya had a brother and sister who swam too, everything fell into place.”

The fledgling team — there’s one other member besides the Pinas — might be small, but the responsibility that comes with being on a national team isn’t lost on them.

“Cape Verde is trying to make swimming a big sport now, so it’s our responsibility to represent our country,” Latroya said. “People in Cape Verde and all the Cape Verdeans in the U.S. will be looking up to us.”

Consisting of 10 islands off Africa’s west coast, Cape Verde has a population of a half-million people. Despite being surrounded by water, it doesn’t have any swimming pools. In the past, any individual swimmers participated in open water competitions — which the Pinas plan on doing as well — but the country has initiated plans to build an indoor swimming pool ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

Most of the athletes that compete for the country in any sport are from the U.S.

The Pinas — including Jayla, a rising freshman at Seekonk High — have been swimming as members of the Seekonk High-based Seacoast Swimming Association under former Warrior coach and current Brown University aquatics director Ray Grant and Brian Cameron, the current Warrior coach.

“We’ve worked with Latroya and Troy for the past eight years and with Jayla for the past six years,” Cameron said. “They are all such great kids with great work ethics and this is a great opportunity for them all.”

The siblings have been early risers all summer, heading to morning workouts (7-8 a.m.) at Seekonk High, then afternoon workouts at Brown’s Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center, being in the water 2 1/2-3 hours daily, six days a week.

The Pina siblings do their “short course” (25 yards) work at Seekonk High and their “long course” (50 meters) work at Brown. The Pinas will train locally for the international competition in Algeria. When school begins, Latroya will likely depart from Washington, while Troy will return from New Jersey to make the trip with Jayla and Cameron from Boston to Algeria.

Alfama remembers the Latroya’s start in swimming at age five when she was more interested in gymnastics. One day at the East Providence Boys and Girls Club, a swim team coach suggested she take lessons and swim for the girls’ club team. Five years later, as a 10-year old, Latroya was swimming at national meets.

Today, Latroya, at 5-foot-6, has already placed her name in the Howard University record books at the Burr Pool. She is a member of the career-best 200 (1:47.77) and 400 (3:58.22) medley relay teams(3:58.22), ranking No. 2 in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.07) and 100 individual medley (1:03.04), No. 3 in the 200 breaststroke (2:26.14) and No. 5 in the 200 IM (2:14.18).

She was so focused on her academics at Howard University and ambitions to attend medical school that she never thought of extending her swimming career.

“Academics has always been my main focus because once my last collegiate meet was done with, after college it’s the real world,” she said.

Now with the World Games and Olympic Games in the future, she will likely take a “gap year” before continuing post-graduate studies.

The 5-foot-8 Troy had season best swims for St. Peter’s at the Eugene and Teresa Imperatore Swimming Center during MAAC meets in the 200 individual medley (2:05.14) and 200 butterfly (2:04.61).

“He has emerged as an active leader for our team,” said Mark Kretzer, St. Peter’s head swimming and diving coach. “When he told me about the opportunity to represent his mother’s country of Cape Verde, I knew this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for him.”

At the African championship meet, Troy will likely be competing in the 50 butterfly, 50 and 100 freestyle events. Latroya will likely take on the 50 and 100 breaststroke events and the 50 freestyle, while Jayla will likely swim the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events.

For the siblings, swimming is has been a constant, even while away from home.

“For me, my brother and my sister, swimming never stops,” Latroya said. “Swimming is something we love to do — it’s fun, it’s never been a burden.”

And all of them are proud to represent Cape Verde, an experience made even better with their siblings alongside.

“I am proud to represent the country of Cabo Verde and ecstatic to compete in my first international meet,” Troy said. “It’s a great feeling to also have two siblings competing along with me for Cabo Verde.”

Even more proud is their mom.

“I don’t even know how to swim!” Alfama said. “I was happy just watching. I’ve spent a lot of miles on the road, a lot of hours at pools with them. My life began when they got involved with sports and swimming. I was a super sports mom.”

And while they used to joke about being in the Olympics some day, Latroya said how they came upon the experience was “random” and none of them ever dreamed they’d be this close.

“You always trained harder for the bigger meets when you were in high school and now in college,” Troy said. “Now that we’re going to the African games, then the World Championships and Olympic Games, this is something that we never dreamed.”