• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Washington Week: A Scholar’s Perspective

Holmes Scholar Whitney Watkins, past president of the Holmes Scholars Council, reflects on her participation in last year’s Holmes Summer Policy Institute. This year’s institute will be held June 5. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Such an awesome and fulfilling time was had at the 2016 Holmes Summer Policy Institute during AACTE’s Washington Week! From the connections I made with other Holmes participants to the relationships I built with professionals in the education field, the experience was one to remember.

I appreciated the powerful opening address by Peggy Brookins of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which was an inspiring way to start the day. I remember rushing up to her afterward in an effort to just shake hands and connect with her. She encouraged me to follow up with her and generously offered insights and resources.

Throughout the rest of the day, we heard from panels of experienced Holmes alumni and other experts in the field, which was refreshing and enlightening. One of my most prized memories of the day was our mentoring session with Holmes alumna Phyllis Metcalf-Turner. She did an amazing job of dissecting the process of creating a curriculum vitae, as well as what to expect during the faculty selection process. Her expertise was incredibly appreciated for someone like myself – an aspiring doctoral graduate and future faculty member.

As a Holmes Program leader, my favorite part of the day was the business meeting, which is always an exciting opportunity to hear from the membership and elicit ideas and participation from others who want to see the organization thrive.

Beyond the Holmes portion of the programming, Washington Week offers time to “meet and greet” educators from across the country and to advocate with members of Congress during Day on the Hill. It is a powerful thing when educators have the chance to be heard and help bring about professionally informed changes in policy.

Overall, my experience at Washington Week 2016 was powerful, motivating, and most of all beneficial. I highly recommend the opportunity for fellow Holmes students, researchers, and educators at all levels!

Registration for all 2017 Washington Week events is available online. The deadline to reserve a hotel room in AACTE’s block is May 12.


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Whitney Watkins

Holmes Scholars Council President, 2015-2017

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