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Spotlight on University of South Carolina Holmes Doctoral Program

Holmes Program participants in action.

On September 20, the University of South Carolina hosted “Dreaming Beyond Graduation,” an event where Holmes Scholars Ayan Mitra, Lydia Carnesale, Priscila Costa, and Shelby Gonzales participated in various capacities. The event was sponsored by Richland One School District (R1) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC). The College of Education, through the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, organized the event in partnership with the International Students Service, Admissions Office, the University Visitor Center, and Russell House University Union.

On that Friday, the University received a group of 110 high-school English language learners, their chaperones (teachers, staff, and parents), and the director of ESOL and Foreign Languages from R1 schools. The group of high schoolers were welcomed by UofSC student ambassadors who guided them on a campus tour and engaged them in conversation about college life. After the tour, the visitors lunched at the Russell House Ballroom and attended a series of five Power Speeches. Invited by R1, the speakers were once English language learners and today are successful professionals in their fields. 

The purposes of this event were

  • To introduce local high-school students to the college experience
  • To inspire high-school students to dream about their future career options
  • To share with high-school students, most of which are first-generation college applicants, the steps for applying to college 
  • To give UofSC student ambassadors the opportunity to meet Columbia area teenagers and be a model for them

Included in those who were present at and supported Dream Beyond Graduation were Jon Pedersen, dean of the College of Education; John Dozier, chief diversity officer & senior associate provost for inclusion; and Michelle Bryan, associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College of Education. 

“It was such a fulfilling experience to see the joy in the students’ faces. Most of them had never been on a university campus before, and this was an opportunity for them to broaden their horizons and dream beyond high school graduation. Yet, I realized that there is still a lot of work we need to do to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our campus,” said Costa. 

The feedback from R1 officials, chaperones, and UofSC ambassadors was also positive.


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