Randryia L. Houston is a founder and current chief executive officer of The Pencil Project, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization that seeks to alleviate educational disparities in Ghana, West Africa, by providing schoolchildren with the educational tools and resources they need to succeed. During her tenure, The Pencil Project has donated over 80,000 pencils to primary and secondary school students across Ghana. She has continued to provide a leading voice and demonstrate a profound concern for community service endeavors in the State of Texas.

Ms. Houston has worked to improve the lives of children locally by chairing a community relations committee in collaboration with Children’s Miracle Network and Texas Children’s Hospital, recruiting and coordinating volunteers at Aspiring Youth of Houston, and by counseling students and families in crisis at Second Chance High School. More recently, from December 2009 to March 2010, she tutored high school students at North Forest High School in TAKS math, science, and reading.

Ms. Houston’s list of awards and honors in recognition of her service and academic achievement are numerous. In the fall of 2010, she received three separate honors, including the John Rueben Sheeler Memorial Scholarship, Flanakin American Humanics Scholarship and the American Humanics GCSW Scholarship. In the spring of 2009, she received five separate honors, including the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah International Study Scholarship, International Educational Fee Scholarship, Flanakin American Humanics Scholarship, University of Houston Cougar Athletic Alliance Scholarship, and Dean’s List for the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences at the University of Houston (UH). In the fall of 2008, she received four separate honors, including the Next Generation Nonprofit Leaders Stipend, Gary Nichols Scholarship for Leadership and Service, Urban Scholarship award, and Dean’s List for the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences at UH.

Ms. Houston is currently a graduate assistant in the African American Studies program and is concurrently pursuing a Masters of Social Work in the Graduate College of Social Work (UH) and a graduate certificate in African American Studies. She attended the University of Houston from 2006-2009, where she attained a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a minor in corporate communications and graduated with a 3.35 GPA. She also holds a nonprofit management certificate from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

Ms. Houston is a native Houstonian. She attended Westside High School from 2001-2005. Ms. Houston has two sisters. The mother of a five year-old daughter, Randryia has said, “I want to do meaningful work that enhances my surroundings…to be an agent of change.”

Ms. Houston’s mission is to make a tangible impact in the lives of children in Ghana, West Africa. Her vision includes eradicating educational inequity globally. As a goal for The Pencil Project, Ms. Houston aims to expand her efforts with the organization to other countries both in Africa and globally.