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Six doctoral students named Holmes Scholars

This year, six doctoral students in the W&M School of Education were selected to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Holmes Scholars Program based on their achievements and their commitment to diversity and equity.

The new Holmes Scholars join a nationwide network of students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds who are pursuing their doctoral degrees. In addition to mentoring opportunities with peers and alumni of the Holmes Scholars Program, the new scholars will also be able to present their research at the AACTE Annual Meeting and participate in events such as the Summer Policy Institute and Day on the Hill.

The Holmes Scholars Program is directed by Stephanie Blackmon, Class of 1963 Associate Professor of Higher Education. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Dr. Blackmon at

Meet the new Holmes Scholars:

Philippa Chin
Counselor Education and Supervision

Philippa is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a licensed Resident in Counseling and a licensed Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is currently a Doctoral Co-Director at New Horizons Family Counseling Center at the Flanagan Counselor Educational Clinic and a Student Member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) International Committee. She earned her M.Ed. at William & Mary where she was enrolled in the Couples, Marriage and Family Counseling program, and acquired her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Philippa’s clinical experience includes providing witness testimony in court, leading drug rehabilitation groups, trauma focused therapy, co-parenting, couples, and family therapy. Philippa’s research interests include exploring the development of ethnic and racial identity (ERI) within the individual and the multiracial family.

Sarah Ghandil
Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program for K-12 Administration

Sarah completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with teacher licensure in 2019 and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership in 2020, both from Old Dominion University. She is currently a seventh-grade English and Social Studies teacher at Independence Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Lavare Henry
Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program for K-12 Administration

Lavare hails from Kingston, Jamaica where he worked as an Assistant Principal at Campion College. He holds a BSc and MSc in Computer Science, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in IT Education from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus Jamaica. He also holds an MSc in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Planning from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Lavare’s research interests include value added by high schools, evaluation of school’s intervention programs for at-risk students, and evaluation of authentic assessments practices.

Paola G. Mendizábal
Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program for Curriculum & Learning Design

Paola is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Office of Teacher Education at William & Mary. Paola has been an educator for eight years, with most of her experience in dual language bilingual education (DLBE). In her most recent school district, she assisted with the implementation of a dual language immersion program and collaborated with other dual language teachers to create a Spanish and English biliteracy curriculum. Her research focus is DLBE and the potential of these programs to increase academic achievement of all participating students and especially those who have been historically marginalized.

Aishwarya Nambiar
Counselor Education and Supervision

Prior to starting her doctoral program, Aishwarya graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom, and a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. Aishwarya is a Licensed Resident in Counseling and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). She is currently a Graduate Assistant for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office at the School of Education and is a Student Member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) International Committee. Her clinical experiences consist of working in both in-patient and out-patient settings serving a diverse population. Aishwarya's research interests include colorism, women of color, international students, and third-culture kids.

Shené V. Owens
Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program with an emphasis in higher education

Shené currently serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Student Diversity at William & Mary, providing academic, social, and transition support for undergraduate and graduate students from underserved and/or underrepresented populations. Originally from Teaneck, New Jersey, Shené is active in her communities both in Virginia and the Tri-State area (NY/NJ), serving as a mentor to teens and young adults, leading self-care and/or self-esteem workshops, participating in community service efforts, and raising awareness to various causes. She lives by the West African term “Sankofa”, which teaches us that we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Shené is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and holds both a B.A. in English Arts and M.A. in Counseling (College Student Development) from Hampton University.