Every city has a story and The City Influencer wants to celebrate the power of education and what influence truly means. This past January we introduced our inaugural search event, Dallas/Fort Worth’s Most Influential College Students of 2016. The goal of the initiative was to celebrate currently enrolled African American college students who are the epitome of what makes DFW such a special place to live, work and play in.

We assembled a stellar panel of judges to select a group of outstanding college students that not only exhibit academic excellence, but also serve as shining examples of what makes the Metroplex great – resilience, creativity and hustle.

Out of 60 applicants, we narrowed the list down to 14 exemplary students that will be honored at The City Influencer’s One Year Anniversary Bash on May 24th in the heart of downtown Dallas. In no particular order, please join us in congratulating this year’s finalists:

Brittany Burnam, UNT

Carmen Ponder, Texas A&M Commerce

Destiny Modeste, Paul Quinn College

TJ Vaughn, UNT Dallas

Lorin Washington, UT Arlington

Ke’Yonna Hall, UNT 

Trenton Rose, Tarrant County College, South Campus

Daisah Riley, UNT

Nariana Sands, SMU

Jeffrey Okonye, UT Southwestern Medical School

Sherilyn Smith Rudolph, Dallas Baptist University

Nicolet Nathan, UNT

Maya Jones, SMU

Ciara Anderson, UT Arlington



A former professional athlete, Rod Jones creates absolute magic with his camera. The self-taught photographer,  Dallas father and husband specializes in composite photography art and currently resides in Desoto, Texas.