Congratulations to Sergio Maldonado Aguiñiga, Holmes Scholar of the Month for November 2021. Aguiñiga is currently a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Purdue University. Aguiñiga previously attended California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, where he majored in psychology with a minor in political science. While volunteering with the Prison Education Project and Reintegration Academy, he developed interests in integrating character strengths approaches in counseling practices for youth offenders and former and currently incarcerated individuals.
Aguiñiga’s interests in the field of psychology lie in positive psychology and applying the theoretical background in the practice of counseling psychology for youth offenders, former gang members, and formerly incarcerated adults transitioning into the community.
Congratulations to Diana Gallardo Holmes Scholar of the Month for September 2021. Gallardo is currently a doctoral student in the counselor education and supervision program at The Pennsylvania State University. She is an alumna of Northwestern University where she obtained her master’s in Mental Health Counseling. She has extensive experience in bilingual therapy, leadership, and psychodynamic oriented group work.
Congratulations to Frank Conic, Holmes Scholar of the Month for August 2021. Conic successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Analysis of the Impact of SB 1720 on Gateway Math Courses” this summer.
Currently, Conic serves as an assistant program director for the Community College Futures Assembly, a University of Florida Institute of Higher Education independent policy forum, where he works to prepare students for the many facets of post-secondary education.
Conic has been a Holmes Program participant since 2011 and continues to exhibit the values of excellence and leadership through his service as a student mentor and instructor. He is a mathematics instructor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, and plans to continue in the professoriate at the community college level to support students who are often first-generation, low income, and minority students.
To nominate a Holmes Scholar for the Scholar of the Month award, please use this online form.
Congratulations to Kadija Moon, recent Holmes alumna of the University of Houston and Holmes Scholar of the Month for July 2021. Recently, Moon successfully defended her dissertation titled, “The Bidirectionality of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Sleep Disturbances among Firefighters with Military Veteran Status” and earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology.
Prior to attending TCU, Moon completed both her Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in human development and family studies and her master of education in counseling at the University of Houston. Moon has also interned at the Michael E Debakey VA Medical Center, the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), Houston Fire Department, and the Krist Samaritan Counseling Center.
Congratulations to Nakisha Whittington, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June 2021. Whittington is a scholar at Pennsylvania State University and recently defended her dissertation, “Exploring the Digital Literacy Practices of Black Elementary Students in a New Orleans Charter School.”
As an educator, Whittington has experience in K-12 classrooms and instructing undergraduate students in the Elementary Education program at Penn State.
Whittington’s research interests are centered around digital literacy practices of urban youth. She has published several articles on effective instructional practices to meet the needs of diverse learners, including Scaffolding inclusivity through making: A preliminary analysis of diverse learners’ meaning making through complex systems. Whittington also serves as a reading specialist and editorial assistant for an educational research journal.
Congratulations to Ariela Martinez, Holmes Scholar of the Month for May 2021. Martinez is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in higher education leadership at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, TX. Her research interests examine enhancing undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student college success.
Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Martinez was a college access and higher education professional who served students from diverse academic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds at the high school and collegiate levels. She has held professional titles that include TRiO Student Support Services Lead Ambassador, College Adviser via TCU College Advising Corps, Success Coach at Tarrant County College (TCC), and Senior Transfer Admission Counselor and adjunct instructor at TCU. Martinez earned her associate degree from TCC and her B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from TCU. As a critical scholar, her research interests center on issues of educational equity in higher education for minoritized students.
Congratulations to Ayan Mitra on being named the March Holmes Scholar of the Month. Mitra recently defended his dissertation, titled “Exploring Neurocognitive Processes that Underline Reading Performance in Children: A Foundational Study.” His other research agenda attempts to bridge the gap between education and neuroscience. Mitra strives to understand how connectivity across different regions of the brain (coherence) is predictive of reading measures in widely used cognitive reading assessments. With rapidly evolving neuroimaging techniques providing better spatial and temporal resolution to brain imaging, it is increasingly important for literacy scholars to theorize the neural basis of reading.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought immediate changes to the normalcy of pedagogy practiced within the classroom. Because of the changes, educators are tasked with establishing innovative approaches to teaching in making the learning process more engaging. For a variety of factors, technology-enhanced learning (TEL) is critical. It is critical not only because it is the current educational standard but also because it can enhance the way we develop the education system (Carrillo and Flores, 2020). The Applying Technology-Enhanced Teaching Strategies to the New Normal in 2021 and Beyond session at the AACTE 2021 Annual Meeting took a deeper dive into the need for more teacher preparation programs that adopt inclusive approaches to educating at all levels of education.