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FAU Holmes Scholar Wins Dissertation Competition


During the 70th Annual Meeting preconference events for the AACTE Holmes Program, selected Holmes Scholars participated in a brand-new competition to receive AACTE funding for their dissertation research. AACTE is pleased to announce that the winner of the AACTE Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition is Kayla C. Elliott of Florida Atlantic University for her study, Pride, Power, and Prejudice: The Impact of Performance-Based Funding on Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The funding competition, announced to Holmes Scholars in December, offered a prize of $5,000 to support the winning applicant in completing his or her dissertation. In addition, the winner will receive complimentary registration to the 2019 AACTE Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

In addition to Elliott, the following three scholars were selected as finalists based on a first-round review of their dissertation abstracts in January: Nevin J. Heard of the University of Central Florida; Lillian Leathers of William Paterson University; and Cherjanét D. Lenzy of the University of Northern Colorado. All four finalists then had the opportunity to “sell” their work to a live audience March 1 in Baltimore, Maryland, via a 5-minute presentation. Following the presentations, a panel of judges conferred to select the winner.

“I’m extremely grateful to be the inaugural winner of [this] award,” Elliott said. “Like HBCUs, careers in education have provided pathways to social mobility for Black Americans. It is imperative that we continue to center issues impacting racial equity in spaces like AACTE.”

Upon notification of her selection for the award, Elliott generously requested that a portion of her cash prize be shared with runner-up Holmes Scholar Nevin Heard.

“I was incredibly impressed by the work of my fellow competitors Nevin Heard, Lillian Leathers, and Cherjanét D. Lenzy,” she said. “From Cherjanet’s work on Black female doctoral students, to Lillian’s work on Black principals, and Nevin’s research on HIV+ Black men who have sex with men, it is clear that Holmes Scholars are dedicated to advancing equity and social justice. I and the other competition attendees were particularly moved by Nevin’s presentation, and his remarkable research design. I’m honored to share this award with him in recognition and support of his meaningful work. I hope the competition continues to provide a spotlight for important topics and serves as a catalyst for each future competitor and the organization as a whole.”

AACTE congratulates all of this year’s participants in the inaugural Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition. We wish you all continued success for many years to come!

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Shardae Proctor

AACTE Media Relations Intern