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AACTE Welcomes New Holmes Scholars from UNLV and Austin Peay

The Holmes Program continues to grow! We are excited to welcome four new Holmes Scholars from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Austin Peay State University. Learn more about the new scholars:

Adjoa Mensah is a doctoral student in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis on teacher education. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Western Ontario, a M.Ed. from Daemen College, and a M.A. in French from the University of Kent. Her research interest focuses on the effective integration of technology for diverse learners in K-8 classrooms.

Originally from Canada, Mensah is the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants who instilled in her the importance and impact education has in everyone’s life. Before embarking on her doctoral journey, Mensah was an elementary educator for fifteen years in dual language immersion. Through her time in the classroom and leadership experiences, Mensah became aware of the need to support students with 21st-century technology skills. Her aspirations for higher education include teaching pre-service teachers and building partnerships that provide training for in-service teachers. Mensah became a Holmes scholar to meet and build community with other doctoral students. Through this community, she hopes to gain interdisciplinary insights, learn from faculty, attend conferences and further define her path toward research and scholarship.

Mayra Marquez-Mendez is a doctoral student in educational psychology, currently finishing the first year of her program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education studies and a M.Ed. from the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include teacher preparation and mentorship and how those experiences impact students’ self-determination as they navigate education.

Before returning to pursue her doctorate, Marquez-Mendez taught at a Title I elementary school in Arizona for five years. Teaching supported Marquez-Mendez’s desire to pursue higher education. It allowed her to work and collaborate with students and educators, which helped her understand the types of support they needed. Through her experience in the classroom, Marquez-Mendez has learned that collaboration, mentorship, and professional development are crucial elements for teachers to continue to support the growth and development of diverse students.

As a first-generation Latina, Marquez-Mendez values the opportunities that the Holmes Program offers. She is excited to develop a research-focused agenda and gain more knowledge, skills, and opportunities to collaborate with other doctoral students and faculty who share similar research interests. She looks forward to the various mentorship experiences, research conferences, networking opportunities, and community-building with peers and faculty.

Monique Somma is a doctoral student in the Career and Technical Postsecondary Education program emphasizing STEM trades and occupations at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Western State University of Colorado and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, emphasizing art and technology integration, from Nova Southeastern University.  Somma currently serves as a science mentor for biology, chemistry, and geoscience at the Leadership Academy of Nevada.  In this role, she works collaboratively with parents, administration, business, industry, and community partners to engage students in work-based learning and STEM career pathways accessible to all learners. Somma is also a member of the  Association of Career and Technical Educators (ACTE) and the Geological Society of America (GSA). She is passionate about Black women’s empowerment and success. She aims to increase Black women’s pursuit and persistence in STEM CTE trades and help them become financially independent.

Barbara Tucker is a first-year doctoral student at Austin Peay State University (APSU) where she’s enrolled in an Ed.D. program at the Erickson College of Education. She previously obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in instructional design and technology at APSU. Tucker’s passion for science, technology, and innovation led her to become the Director of Technical Services within the Office of Information Technology at APSU. Having battled a brain tumor during the pandemic, Tucker shared that technology allowed her to spearhead remote work arrangement efforts and initiatives as she transitioned back to full-time work. As a result, she has developed a deeper understanding of the disparities that exist for minorities’ due to an inability to access technology in the 21st century. These experiences have guided her research and affirmed her belief that technology is not only a game-changer but an equalizer. Currently, she is leveraging research to improve remote work practices within her organization and plans to investigate the impact of remote work on the mental health of employees in higher education, as more universities transition to this new modality.

To learn more about the Holmes Program, contact Weadé James, senior director of development and research at wjames@aacte.org


Weade James

Vice President, Organizational Advancement