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Holmes Scholars Share Research, Network in Atlanta

AACTE Holmes Scholars connect during the Annual Meeting in Atlanta
AACTE Holmes Scholars connect during the Annual Meeting in Atlanta

More than 60 AACTE Holmes Scholars® participated in the Annual Meeting in Atlanta last month. The commitment of their 15 host institutions, as well as of AACTE, to building a more diverse professional community was on full display in the lively atmosphere and collegial environment at the conference, which offered a platform of reinvigoration for some and the start of an exciting journey for others. One attendee commented that she had not experienced that much energy in quite a while.

At the kick-off session February 27, AACTE’s Rodrick Lucero, vice president for member engagement and support, described the Association’s renewed commitment to the Holmes Scholars Program and emphasized its value and necessity in the field. He highlighted goals for the coming year, which touched on not only recruiting and retaining scholars in academia, but looking closely at the entire continuum of PK-24. Lucero praised the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA) for its continued support in providing highly sought-after mentoring services for 1st-year and midlevel doctoral students.

Mentoring has long been a hallmark of the Holmes Scholars experience, diligently provided by NASHA. At this year’s Annual Meeting, NASHA added sessions requested by scholars such as “How to Become a Consultant.” More broadly, numerous sessions offered interactive opportunities. For example, scholars received feedback from not only program alumni but other faculty and administrative leaders from various AACTE member institutions.

Capping off these interactive mentoring sessions, the Holmes Scholars Council, the governing organization, engaged in conversation with members of AACTE’s first Networked Improvement Community (NIC), whose mission is to increase Black and Hispanic male enrollment in teacher preparation programs by 25% over the next 3 years. In this thought-provoking session, scholars shared what it meant to them to be a Holmes Scholar and how the program influenced their trajectory (see their video testimonials in AACTE’s Resource Library). Further, the scholars encouraged NIC participants to look at areas such as parental support and to approach the existing literature from nontraditional perspectives. In turn, NIC members described their course of action and assured the scholars that some of their suggestions had already surfaced in the script. This particular session left a profound impression on both parties.

As newly appointed Holmes Scholars Council members take the helm, with support from AACTE and NASHA, the organizations’ membership remains committed to prioritizing and building a more diverse professional community. The new executive board elected in Atlanta is representative of multiple institutions throughout the United States and consists of members dedicated to the promotion of Holmes excellence:

  • President: Whitney Watkins, University of Central Florida
  • Vice President: Amanda Wilkerson, University of Central Florida
  • Research Coordinator: Alma Moore, Kent State University
  • Secretary: Shanee Wangia, Boston College
  • Historian: DeShawn Sims, University of Central Florida
  • General Alternate: Ahmed Fahad, University of Cincinnati
  • Sergeant of Arms: Frank Conic, University of Florida
  • Past President: Willys Michel, University of Central Florida

Two upcoming events will offer opportunities for further engagement and mentoring around the Holmes Scholars community:

May 15–16          FAMU-UCF AACTE Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat

June 9–11            AACTE Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute

For more information about the AACTE Holmes Scholars Program, visit our web site.

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Omar Davis

Manager of Member Engagement, AACTE

Whitney Watkins

Holmes Scholars Council President, 2015-2017