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UNLV Holmes Scholar Wins Dissertation Competition

During the 2020 AACTE Annual Meeting Holmes Program Preconference events, selected scholars participated in the AACTE Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition to receive $5,000 funding support for their dissertation research. AACTE interviews the winner of the 2020 competition, Monique Matute-Chavarria, who completed her study, Parents’ Beliefs of Cultural Considerations During the IEP Process: A Delphi Study, and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Monique Matute-ChavarriaHow would you describe your experience as a Holmes Scholar? What supports were most impactful and why?

I was a Holmes Scholar at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three years. It was a great experience, and I am grateful for the opportunities the Holmes program afforded me. The Holmes program provided me with several professional development opportunities that helped me craft my goals that I wanted to accomplish in the doctoral program to prepare me for a tenure track position. I gained several skills that assisted me through my journey as a doctoral student, such as academic writing, scholarship opportunities, presenting my research, and serving on the Holmes council. I was also able to network with other Holmes Scholars at other institutions at the AACTE Holmes Preconference and build relationships that have led to lifelong friendships and several opportunities to collaborate on research. I gained a new confidence that I did not have prior to my doctoral studies. I know that I can write for publication, stand before experts in the field, and confidently present and discuss my scholarship. The academic and personal growth I gained from the mentorship helped prepare me for a career in academia.

Please describe your line of research and what influenced your decision to pursue this topic.

My professional and educational training and my lived experience influenced my research to improve the outcomes of children/youth and their families in special education. I am a mother of a child with autism who has experienced inequities in the education system. As an early interventionist, licensed early childhood special education teacher, and researcher, the experiences I had inform my research. My research focuses on the intersections of race, family, and disability. The goals I have are to conduct research to develop an assessment that can mitigate the barriers families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds experience during the individual education program (IEP).

Why did you decide to compete for the 2020 Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition (DFC)? How did the award from the DFC support your dissertation study?

I submitted a proposal to compete in the 2020 Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition (DFC) to share my research with the AACTE Holmes community to secure funding for my dissertation, and receive feedback on my study. The funding I received from the DFC assisted me with supplies, software, and hiring reliability raters for my data analysis and systematic literature review.

My dissertation was titled “Parents’ Beliefs of Cultural Considerations During the IEP Process: A Delphi Study.” The Delphi study examined the cultural considerations and social resources that impact parental engagement, family-school partnerships, and parental advocacy of families from CLD backgrounds during the IEP process. The results of the study could have educational and social implications for CLD families of children with disabilities. Additionally, the results could help create more equitable experiences, as well as mitigate the barriers of families from CLD backgrounds as they move through the special education process with their child. I aspire to contribute to the current body of literature and provide implications for policy, research, and practice. 

How did being a Holmes Scholar prepare you for your current role?

The Holmes program greatly impacted my studies in the doctoral program. I had the opportunity to work with faculty who are experts in their fields and engage in multiple professional development and scholarship activities with faculty and peers. The experiences I gained from Holmes shaped my views of academia and strengthened my desire to become a faculty member. The Holmes program instilled in me the impact I can make in the academy and the value my research has in creating equitable experiences for students from underrepresented backgrounds and disabilities.                                                                             

Monique Matute-Chavarria is currently an assistant professor in the Department of School of Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership at New Mexico State University. She received her Ph.D. in special education from the Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Prior to obtaining her doctoral degree she worked with children birth to three with disabilities at Nevada Early Intervention Services. While at UNLV, she served as a Rodman Graduate Teaching Assistant and Holmes Scholar for the College of Education. She was also selected as a fellow for the Hammill Institute on Disabilities and as editorial assistant for Intervention in School and Clinic, the practitioner journal associated with Hammill. Following graduation, she transitioned to an editorial board member of the journal.


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Weade James

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