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Jennifer Jackson, Penn State University, Named June 2024 Holmes Scholar of the Month

Promoting Equity and Excellence: Jackson’s Journey in Science Education

The AACTE Holmes Scholars Program is proud to feature Jennifer Jackson, Ph.D., as the June 2024 Holmes Scholar of the Month. Jackson recently defended her dissertation last month and will be graduating in August in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on science education at Pennsylvania State University, where she has distinguished herself through her research, teaching, service, and leadership.

Jackson’s research focuses on how secondary science teachers communicate within professional learning spaces while attending to equitable, culturally responsive pedagogy. Her work explores how providing professional learning opportunities for teachers to engage in identity work can inform their teaching practices and ability to create inclusive science classrooms. Jackson has presented her research at prestigious conferences like the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) and has traveled abroad to present her work in Germany at the 2023 European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) summer school as a summer institute fellow. Additionally, she has several publications in research journals such as the Journal of Science Teacher Education.

In addition to her scholarly work, Jackson has been actively involved in teaching and mentoring future science educators. She taught the science methods course “Teaching Secondary Science” and served as a teaching assistant for an urban education seminar that prepared preservice teachers for diverse school settings. Jackson has also worked with the NSF Research Experience for Teachers program at Penn State, supporting professional development for in-service science teachers.

Beyond the classroom, Jackson has taken on multiple leadership roles in the Penn State community. She served as President of the College of Education Graduate Student Council from 2023-2024 and has been a stalwart member of organizations like the Black Graduate Student Association. Her service has been recognized through prestigious honors like being named an AACTE Holmes Scholar and receiving the Lunetta Fellowship. In addition, Jackson has also been named a NASA PA Space Grant Fellow during her time at Penn State University.

What makes Jackson truly exceptional is her ability to excel across all domains — innovative research, excellent teaching, dedicated service, and leadership. Her commitment to promoting equity and culturally responsive practices in science education will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the field.

As she concludes her doctoral studies this summer, we celebrate Jackson as an outstanding Holmes Scholar and wish her the very best for her future endeavors as a scholar, teacher, and leader in science education.

To nominate a Holmes Scholar for the Scholar of the Month award, please use this online form