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Whitney Watkins

Holmes Scholars Council President, 2015-2017

Washington Week: A Scholar’s Perspective

Holmes Scholar Whitney Watkins, past president of the Holmes Scholars Council, reflects on her participation in last year’s Holmes Summer Policy Institute. This year’s institute will be held June 5. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Such an awesome and fulfilling time was had at the 2016 Holmes Summer Policy Institute during AACTE’s Washington Week! From the connections I made with other Holmes participants to the relationships I built with professionals in the education field, the experience was one to remember.

Shalander Samuels Named January Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to January Holmes Scholar of the Month Shalander Samuels of the University of Central Florida!

With her passion for education, Samuels consistently advocates for student success and achievement, especially in the areas of reading and language arts. Her research interests include reading achievement gaps and teaching motivation methods in Title I schools.

With over 8 years of experience in a formal teaching capacity, Samuels has a reputation for the exciting and motivating atmosphere she created in her middle school classroom. She continues to bring this positivity to her graduate studies, building and maintaining relationships and empowering her colleagues and fellow scholars with unmatched encouragement. Samuels’ dynamic presence and passion indicate that her legacy in the field of education is likely to endure.

Holmes Dissertation Retreat Advances Scholars’ Doctoral Journey

The annual Holmes Scholars Dissertation Symposium and Retreat convened May 27-28 at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. The retreat served as an invaluable exchange of knowledge, mentorship, and networking. Professionals in the fields of counseling and mentoring, qualitative research, quantitative research, and grant writing guided more than 70 participants in their doctoral journeys.

Shaywanna Harris Is April Holmes Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to April Holmes Scholar of the Month Shaywanna Harris!

Harris is a second-year doctoral student in the Counselor Education program at the University of Central Florida. Her research interests are traumatic childhood experiences, brain development in children, resilience in families, and neurofeedback training in counseling.

Harris is known for working collegially and collaboratively with diverse individuals across different organizations. As supervisor of a community counseling and research clinic at her university, she has demonstrated a commitment to successfully advocating for and valuing diversity. She also works with minority children of alcoholics by conducting research and disseminating information to the public through manuscript publications.

Holmes Scholars Give, Receive Much at AACTE

During last month’s AACTE Annual Meeting, the Holmes Program preconference events brought together 74 Holmes Scholars, at least 15 coordinators, and numerous alumni from across the nation. The events, facilitated by the Holmes Scholars Council, AACTE, and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA), included participants from 17 member institutions, more than a dozen presenters, and the program’s first cohort of undergraduate students, known as Holmes Honors students. Attendees shared their research, held a variety of formal and informal meetings, and elected new leaders for the coming year.

While attending, we observed the act of relationship building during program sessions and after hours where the new relations began to take root. Participants were clearly excited about the opportunities to connect with peers from around the nation and to participate in conference sessions that were inspiring and powerful. Representatives from AACTE and NAHSA answered what seemed like endless inquiries about program implementation and growth strategies. Considering the overall feedback from participants, all in attendance walked away with a wealth of knowledge as well as new friends and colleagues.

Wilkerson Named February Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to February Scholar of the Month Amanda Wilkerson!

Wilkerson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida. Her research interests are historically Black colleges and universities, college transition programming for first-generation, low-income students, and program evaluation, curriculum development, and instrument design for Freshman Year Seminar.

“Amanda is truly a dynamic educator, scholar, and individual,” said Wilkerson’s nominator. “Her passion for social change is one of her many facets that I admire and am inspired by. You never leave the same after having an encounter with Ms. Amanda Wilkerson, and her future college presidency will surely bode well for the institution being served under her leadership. It is my honor to nominate such an outstanding woman!”

McKinney Named December Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to December Scholar of the Month Robert McKinney!

McKinney is a doctoral student in the counselor education program at Kent State University (OH). His research interests are multicultural competency in counseling, LBGTQQI issues, and pedagogical styles in counselor education.

Currently, McKinney serves as secretary of the executive board for the Chi Sigma Iota counseling honors fraternity and is considered among the top 5% of counseling doctoral students enrolled in the university’s 2015 cohort.

Towns Named November Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to November Scholar of the Month Leonard D. Towns!

Towns is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology at Auburn University (AL). His research interests include educational theory, policy, and program evaluation.

His role as an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at Tuskegee University (AL) has allowed him to mentor future scholars and professionals. His encouragement of research has resulted in conference presentations by his students.

Solomon Named Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to October Holmes Scholar of the Month Coralis Solomon!

Solomon is a second-year doctoral student in the counselor education program at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Her research interests are mindfulness and self-compassion in counseling.

Solomon has worked in La Amistad, a community agency where she provided mental health services to individuals suffering from traumatic experiences. She is currently coordinating an in-school community counseling clinic for a partnership with the UCF counselor education program and Seminole County Public Schools. This endeavor is serving as an excellent opportunity for counseling students to get a chance to work with a population they may not see in the clinic on campus. In addition, this partnership offers free services to families so they can take advantage of mental health counseling that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

LaMarcus Hall Is Sept. Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to September 2015 Holmes Scholar of the Month LaMarcus Hall!

Hall is a second-year doctoral candidate in the curriculum and instruction program at Purdue University. His research interest is cultural spaces for underrepresented minorities in higher education.

Since joining the Holmes Scholars Program at the beginning of this summer, Hall has made a breakout performance in his role as a Holmes Scholar at his institution. His nominator was incredibly impressed with his contributions to the field, as well as his array of other accomplishments.

Interact With Holmes Scholars on Social Media

The AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program thrives because of the strong connections and networks built within its framework and through the amazing efforts of the membership. To make sure the strength of that assembly is continually being nourished, we are implementing a social media/communications plan that aims to improve engagement and participation among Holmes Scholars and the profession more broadly.

I encourage all Holmes Scholars and other interested students/faculty to join our social media interactions! Our Facebook and Twitter presence aims to meet the following objectives:

Jessica Henry Named August’s Holmes Scholar of the Month

Jessica Henry
Jessica Henry, Ohio University Holmes Scholar

Congratulations to August Holmes Scholar of the Month Jessica Henry!

Henry is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University. Her research interests are mental health and rehabilitation.

Henry’s nominator had this to say about her: “A rehabilitation counselor by trade, it is Jessica’s life goal to improve the quality of life for everyone that she comes into contact with. Jessica epitomizes strength and resilience and leads by example.”

McNeil Named June’s Holmes Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to June Holmes Scholar of the Month Terrance McNeil!

McNeil is a doctoral student at Florida A&M University (FAMU). His research interests include education policy, education technology, distance learning, professional development, and charter schools.

McNeil’s nominator had this to say about him: “Terrance has maintained an unwavering standard of excellence in his academic endeavors and is always willing to assist his cohort members to ensure that we all excel in our classes.”

Fahad Named Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to May Holmes Scholar of the Month Ahmed Fahad!

Fahad is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati (OH) in the Second Language Studies Department. His research interests are in second-language acquisition and pedagogy, critical discourse analysis, and computer-mediated communication.

Holmes Scholars Council Plans Exciting Year

As the 2014-2015 AACTE Holmes Scholars® Council passes the torch to the new and excited cohort of executives, there are many people to thank. First, scholars themselves have played a pivotal role in the support of the past Council leadership, as well as serving a great cause: diversifying the American professoriate. In addition, the 2014-2015 Council would like to extend gratitude to the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) and to various members of AACTE. The new Council looks forward to the continued support of all aforementioned networks.

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