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Past Participants Commend Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute

With AACTE’s Washington Week nearly upon us, we asked two past participants in the Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute–one signature component of the week’s events–for feedback on their experience at the institute and the subsequent AACTE Day on the Hill activities. Holmes Scholars Kish Cumi of the University of Louisville (KY) and Ahmed Fahad of the University of Cincinnati (OH) offered the following responses, providing a preview of what participants can expect at this year’s event starting June 6:

AACTE: How did the Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute benefit you as a student and growing professional?

Cumi: The summer policy institute provided an invaluable opportunity to network with fellow Holmes Scholars and alumni. The institute also served to galvanize scholars around education initiatives by emphasizing the role that advocacy plays in our contributions to education through teaching, scholarship, and service.

Fahad: It benefited me by providing me with the opportunity to network with people from different disciplines and also by teaching me how to approach decision makers and brief them on some of the challenges in the field that require their intervention.

AACTE: Would you recommend this program to others, and what specific features of the program would you highlight?

Cumi: I would absolutely recommend this program to others! In fact, I was disappointed to see that there were not more scholars present last year. I would specifically recommend the U.S. Department of Education visit, the round robin table discussions with national partners and members of the Holmes Scholars Council, and of course, the opportunity to meet your state representatives.

Fahad: Yes, I definitely recommend it for everyone who can attend. It is a good place for novice scholars to learn about policy and how decisions are made in Washington, DC. Participants will also benefit from the different speeches and workshops offered during the week on public speaking and advocacy.

AACTE: Which session on current policy and research did you learn the most from?

Cumi: I learned the most from the round robin table discussions, as I am interested in ways in which I can be involved in educational policy reform initiatives.

Fahad: I very much liked the Day on the Hill where I was able to meet with my representative in the Congress. I learned that we, as educators, can also become a resource for our representatives to get accurate information on current educational issues in our areas.

AACTE: What were your most significant takeaways from the 2015 Washington Week?

Cumi: The most significant takeaway for me was to recognize the impact that my work can have on policy–to embrace the opportunity to advocate for equitable educational outcomes for youth through scholarship.

Fahad: Getting to know how decision making takes place and how educators can be a resource in this respect is something I liked. I also appreciated the opportunity to network with people from different states and disciplines.

The 2016 Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute convenes Monday, June 6, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Registration for the event includes a variety of workshops, meetings, receptions, and participation in the 2-day advocacy event Day on the Hill, June 7-8, for all

AACTE members. See the draft agenda for details on what’s in store for Holmes Scholars this year.

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Katrina Sheffield

Marketing Coordinator Intern, AACTE