AACTE Welcomes New Holmes Scholars

We are excited to welcome four outstanding scholars to the Holmes Community. Please join us in welcoming Jordana Simmons (Rowan University), Zhan Shi (Texas Christian University), Denise Mugabe (Texas Christian University), and Monica Manzur (Texas Christian University).

Jordana Simmons is a Ph.D. student at Rowan University and is enrolled in the Urban and Diverse Learning Environments concentration of the Access, Success, and Equity program.

Jordana Simmons is a Ph.D. student at Rowan University and is enrolled in the Urban and Diverse Learning Environments concentration of the Access, Success, and Equity program. Simmons works with the Partnership for Equity, Education, and Research (PEER) which partners with K-12 public school districts in southern New Jersey and leads them in equity centered professional development. In addition to her work with PEER, Simmons works as a Student Success Coach and Equity Coordinator in the Black Horse Pike Regional School District. Prior to beginning her doctoral journey, Simmons was a high school English teacher. Her experience as a classroom teacher deeply contributed to research interests of continuing to support in-service educators in developing culturally responsive practices. She often draws from culturally responsive pedagogy, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and Transformative Learning Theory as she works towards developing and delivering transformative professional development to educators as well as exploring the educational experiences of students of color.

Zhan Shi is a doctoral student at Texas Christian University, pursuing a degree in higher education leadership. Her research focuses on higher education finance, financial aid policies, human capital theory, neoliberalism, and performance funding from states.

Zhan Shi is a doctoral student at Texas Christian University, pursuing a degree in higher education leadership. Her research focuses on higher education finance, financial aid policies, human capital theory, neoliberalism, and performance funding from states. She’s particularly interested in how various financial aid policies and practices affect student enrollment, educational persistence, and outcome from the lens of educational equity and ethics. Shi is an immigrant in Singapore and worked as an accounting professional for eight years before emigrating to U.S. She holds a master’s degree in finance from Iowa State University and MBA from Texas Christian University. She believes that her STEM degree background and data analysis skills equipped her to conduct quantitative research in the higher education field. Shi is currently a vice finance president of the Graduate Student Senate at TCU and a member of the Chinese Baptist Church of Fort Worth. She is  also a mother of three children.

Denise Mugabe is a Harare, Zimbabwean native pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, with a focus on higher education, at Texas Christian University.

Denise Mugabe is a Harare, Zimbabwean native pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, with a focus on higher education, at Texas Christian University. With a curiosity and desire to learn and share culture, she resolved to use Ubuntu; an African philosophy centered on ‘being self through other’ and compassion and humility, as her life’s mantra and educational focus as she moved to the U.S to pursue higher education. Her research examines the experiences of international students, and the institutional frameworks affecting the enrollment and retention of minoritized groups. Denise began her educational journey at Del Mar College and transferred to Midwestern State University where she received a bachelor’s in Business Administration and an MBA with a Management emphasis from Texas Woman’s University. Mugabe currently works as a Research Assistant at the College of Education at TCU and uses this position to actively champion and communicate the needs of graduate students serving as the College’s representative in the Graduate Student Senate.

Monica Manzur is pursuing her Ed.D in Higher Educational Leadership at Texas Christian University. Manzur is originally from Belize, Central America where she was born and raised.

Monica Manzur is pursuing her Ed.D in Higher Educational Leadership at Texas Christian University. Manzur is originally from Belize, Central America where she was born and raised. She takes pride in being a Belizean and is passionate about advancing higher education in Belize. She moved to the U.S. in 2013 to pursue her bachelor’s at New Mexico State University and later completed her M.Ed. in Counseling- Student Affairs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Before commencing her doctoral program, Manzur returned to Belize in 2019 where she served as the Director of Student Affairs for a private university in Belize. Given her experiences, Manzur is interested in exploring student involvement, sense of belonging, and equity and access for underrepresented students.

Outside of the academic realm, Manzur is a lover of nature and food and does this through her love for travel. She enjoys spending time and connecting with loved ones as she loves to learn the stories of others. No matter where she has lived, Manzur makes it a point to enjoy nature water (beaches, rivers, oceans, lakes) around her.

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


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Weade James

Senior Director, Development and Research

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