Congratulations to Talisa Jackson, the January Holmes Scholar of the Month. Originally from Natchez, Mississippi, Jackson is a doctoral candidate at George Mason University where she is studying science education research. Through her research, Jackson seeks to examine the representation of girls of color in STEM-related picture books with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented populations in the STEM field. Since 2019, Jackson has worked at the National Science Foundation as a program assistant. Additionally, she is recipient of a 2020 College of Education and Human Development Completion Fellowship from George Mason University.
Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Jackson taught kindergarten and fourth grade in Title I schools in North Carolina and Virginia. Her experience in Title I schools, where 70% or more students receive free or reduced lunch, opened Jackson’s eyes to STEM education inequalities. This led her to research the various ways girls and people of color can be encouraged to participate in the STEM field.
Congratulations to Timara Davis, the December Holmes Scholar of the Month. Davis is a doctoral candidate in the Exceptional Education program at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Prior to studying at UCF, Davis earned her master’s in special education with an emphasis on mild to moderate disabilities from Western Carolina University. Davis is an experienced educator, having taught for more than seven years at the elementary level and in higher education.
Previously, she served as secretary on the Holmes Council and credits the program with helping her to expand her network to other scholars of color and providing ample opportunities to build professional and personal connections. Davis has also served in other leadership roles, including serving as the former president of the Association for Doctoral Students in Exceptional Education (ADSEE) in 2019.
Her research interests include teacher preparation and professional development for general education teachers in inclusive settings and the retention of teachers, with a particular focus on high needs populations. Davis’ dissertation research will focus on implementing a data-based coaching model for general education teachers in inclusive settings.
AACTE congratulates Diana Gallardo, Holmes Scholar of the Month for November. Gallardo is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision at Pennsylvania State University. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and has worked in the field for three years.
Prior to enrolling at Penn State, Gallardo obtained her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. Additionally, Gallardo is a graduate teaching assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. After attending the AACTE Holmes Preconference for the first time in 2019, Gallardo expressed how she benefitted from the experience and how thrilled she was to be a part of a supportive community. “I was able to connect and meet scholars of color who are doing amazing work in all fields of education. I have come back refreshed and ready to continue my purpose in counselor education and supervision programs,” she stated.
Despite challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallardo continued to excel in her scholarship. She recently obtained IRB approval and has started conducting her latest research on diversity issues within counselor education faculty. In addition to the academic and professional experiences that Gallardo brings to the Holmes community, she is known for being a light to everyone she interacts with due to her warm and open personality.
Carla Roberson is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at Ohio University, where she is pursuing a concentration in mental health and rehabilitation counseling. Roberson is also a former McNair Scholar and alumnae of Kean University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She previously served on the Holmes Council as the social media coordinator and continues to give back to the Holmes community.
Roberson’s research investigates the lived experiences and psychological well-being of Black students and faculty in higher education. Her dissertation study, “A Phenomenological Study on the Experiences of Imposter Phenomenon among Black Doctoral Students at Predominantly White Institutions” focuses on the impostor phenomenon—a psychological pattern that makes it hard for people to internalize their own accomplishments—and its effects on doctoral students of color. She is committed to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students and professionals in higher education. She hopes to become a professor, alongside her mental health pursuits, in order to inspire students by creating an environment for them to become effective clinicians, educators, and critical thinkers.
AACTE congratulates Tiffany Hamm, Holmes Scholar of the Month for August 2020. Hamm is in the third year of her doctoral program at Syracuse University, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in science education. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Hamm taught earth science in her hometown of Bronx, New York, and earned a B.S. in marine sciences from Stony Brook University and an M.Ed. in Urban Adolescence Education from Long Island University- Brooklyn Campus.
Hamm’s research interest is centered on urban science education. Her life’s work is to study ways to make science education more accessible to students attending schools in urban communities. Hamm recently completed a TED talk titled Urban Narratives in Science Education for the TEDxSyracuseUniversity program
Congratulations to Breahannah Hilaire, Holmes Scholar of the Month for July 2020. Hilaire recently completed the first year of her doctoral program at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision.
Prior to attending UCF, Hilaire completed her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Rollins College. She is currently a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and holds counseling certifications in both clinical hypnosis and university and college counseling.
Congratulations to Shanett Dean, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June 2020. Dean is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Her research interests include the school-to-prison pipeline, critical pedagogy, technology integration, and critical literacy. She earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of South Florida and an M.A. from New York University. Dean has 10 years of experience as a literature, philosophy, and research instructor, and has facilitated professional development sessions on the implementation and implications of technology in secondary classrooms.
As a Holmes Scholar, Dean has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She is also the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including the FAU’s Provost Fellowship, the Broward Education Foundation Teacher Grant for her work on micro-narratives and project-based learning, and the Super Teacher Award received in March 2019 for her creative and fun learning techniques in the IB Literature class that she teaches at Boyd Anderson High School in South Florida. Dean has also created a website for her students, which can be found at deanintheory.com.
Congratulations to Phillandra Smith, Holmes Scholar of the Month for February 2020. Smith is a second-year doctoral student in special education, and is also pursuing a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disability Studies at Syracuse University. She is one of two inaugural Holmes Scholars at Syracuse University, where she is also a board member on the School of Education Graduate Student Council. Smith serves as an American Education Research Association (AERA) peer reviewer for the Caribbean and African Studies in Education special interest group (SIG).
Originally from The Bahamas, Smith has taught in her home country and Japan. Her research interests include cultural reciprocity in the transition planning of culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities, the retention and recruitment of racially and ethnically diverse students to inclusive education teacher programs, and the experience of Caribbean migrant students with disabilities in U.S. schools.
Congratulations to Francisco J. Ocasio, Holmes Scholar of the Month for January 2020. Ocasio is pursuing a doctorate in Teacher Education and Teacher Development at Montclair State University (MSU). His primary doctoral research interests include the disadvantages of LGBTQ+ staff members working within schools. He is passionate about creating safe spaces for developing critical thinkers and providing opportunities for educational risks.
Ocasio began his Holmes journey as a Masters student in 2015 at William Paterson University. His many accolades include being a Fulbright-Hays Scholar in 2017 in Israel, the commencement speaker for the graduate commencement ceremony in 2017, and the NJ Distinguished Student Teacher State Award in 2010.
Ocasio has worked as a teacher for 11 years. He currently works as an English honors educator at Passaic County Technical Institute Vocational High School. Ocasio supports the LGBTQ+ community within his high school. He is consistently involved with helping teachers and students with extracurricular activities via Supplemental Educational Service (SES), the Hispanic Heritage Club, and the Teacher Talent Show. Ocasio is a board member on the Friends for the Hispanic Research Institute Center, a community group that partners with the Newark Public Library to support the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center (NJHRIC) with funding. NJHRIC is a non-profit organization that fundraises to maintain and preserve Latinx historical records and resources for the state of New Jersey.
Congratulations to Gelawdiyos Haile, Holmes Scholar of the Month for December 2019. Haile is pursuing a doctorate in counselor education at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He currently works as a graduate research assistant, where he coordinates a mentoring program. Haile is also a registered mental health counselor intern with the state of Florida, and serves as a professional tennis registry adult development instructor.
His primary research interests include the process of addiction and recovery, multicultural counseling, human performance, and interpersonal neurobiology. He is currently involved in two empirical investigations that explore counselor preparedness, crisis work, and substance abuse in college students.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Ayisi, a Ph.D. student and graduate research associate in mathematics education in the Patton College of Education at Ohio University. Ayisi holds a bachelors of art degree in mathematics from The College of Wooster and masters of science in mathematics from John Carroll University. Prior to attending Ohio University, she taught high school mathematics, physics, computer science, and college applied calculus. Her expertise includes complex analysis, differential geometry, functional analysis, statistics, and the use of quantitative statistical analysis techniques (e.g., analysis of variance, linear regression, Monte Carlo simulation, structural equation modeling, research methodologies, etc).
Ayisi has presented a number of research posters and delivered presentations at local, regional, and national research conferences. She is also a native speaker of Twi, a common language in Ghana.
Congratulations to Claudine McLaren Turner, Holmes Scholar of the Month for October 2019! Turner is a Ph.D. candidate and a Holmes Scholar at the University of Central Florida. Her research interest resides in teaching in higher education, and is currently investigating professional access and equity in higher education.
Turner’s published works have examined the experiences of former foster care youth and Black male professionals in institutions of higher education, as well as institutional diversity initiatives in postsecondary education. Most recently, she completed the final revision of a co-authored book chapter titled “Still Lifting as We Climb: Sisters of the Academy on Being Queen Mothers.” The book is scheduled for publication in fall 2019.
Congratulations to Danna Demezier, Holmes Scholar of the Month for August 2019! Demezier is pursuing a doctorate in counselor education at Florida Atlantic University. Demezier’s primary research interest surrounds examining culturally responsive interventions for diverse ethnic populations and the impact of such interventions on treatment outcomes. Secondarily, she is interested in investigating the mental health seeking behaviors of ethnically diverse populations.
Demezier is a nationally certified counselor and a licensed mental health counselor. In 2016, she participated in a mission trip to Haiti where she served on the mental health team. She is also a member of the Human Rights Committee of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Demezier is the recipient of many scholarships. Currently, she serves as a clinical research assistant at the University of Miami and FAU.
An advocate for the Holmes Scholar Program, she believes it is an intricate part of securing a successful matriculation within her doctoral program and that the program provides a sense of community. Her future career goals are to serve as a university professor and supervisor.
Congratulations to Dana Dunwoody, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June 2019! Dunwoody recently completed her dissertation defense at Boston University and will graduate in September 2019. Her dissertation research examines “Practicing Critical Coaching: Disrupting traditional youth sport coaching with social justice and critical consciousness.”
Dunwoody served as the Holmes national president from 2017–2019, and implemented many positive changes during her tenure. Prior to that, she served as Holmes Scholars sergeant-at-arms (2016-2017), and organized and planned many conferences for the Holmes community as well as her institution.
Her service also includes her work with Ultimate Peace, where she facilitated discussions with leaders in training Middle East program directors on redesigning the curriculum for youth leaders and coaches. In this role, she has led discussions with Middle East staff on the implementation of cross-cultural equity, diversity, and inclusion within coaching programs.
Upon graduation, Dunwoody plans to continue her career at Boston University with the Associate Provost’s Office of Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs. In her upcoming position, she will work collaboratively with a team of associate provosts, postdoctoral associates, and graduate assistants across two universities: Boston University and Northwestern University.
The first time I attended the AACTE Day on the Hill in Washington, DC, was in 2015. At that time, I was one of two in the first Holmes Masters students’ program at William Paterson University (WPU). AACTE had just begun the implementation of adding Holmes Cadets, Holmes Honors, and Holmes Masters students. Before attending the “Day on the Hill,” Holmes held a Summer Policy Institute session, and upon entering the room, I immediately felt a sense of being home. The room was comprised of Holmes Scholars who were pursuing a doctoral degree. Having the chance to be surrounded by successful scholars who looked like me increased my internal drive. Holmes Scholars influenced me to believe that I could pursue earning a doctorate degree. A critical piece of information I learned and always carry with me is that representation matters on all levels, and the ability to see oneself in spaces to enact change is monumental.