In February, doctoral students in the William & Mary Holmes Scholars Program, Philippa Chin, Darla Edwards, Tai Exumé, Lavare Henry (Henry), Tamika Jackson, Jingjing Liu, Paola Mendizabal, Aishwarya Nambiar, and Senttra Snowden-Gregg traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the annual American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Conference. The scholars participated in workshops, job talks, keynote presentations, and networking events with faculty and fellow Holmes Scholars. Several W&M Holmes Scholars had the opportunity to present their own research as well.
Four Holmes Scholars shared their dissertation research at the conference. Paola Mendizabal presented “Leveraging Technology to Support the Goals of Dual Language Bilingual Education: A Mixed Methods Study,” where she discussed the preliminary results from her dissertation’s quantitative research. Philippa Chin, Lavare Henry, and Aishwarya Nambiar presented in job talks, where they had the opportunity to practice interviewing for faculty positions using their dissertation research. Chin’s research, “A Qualitative Investigation into the Ethnic and Racial Identity Development of Counseling Students” focused on understanding the ethnic and racial identity development experience of counseling students during their master’s program. Henry presented early findings from his dissertation research during his job talk entitled: “In Pursuit of Quality: Using Value-Added Measures to Guide Educational Policy, Practice, and Parental High School Decision-Making.” Nambiar presented her research focused on colorism and South Asian women entitled: “The Experiences of Colorism for South Asian Women: A Qualitative Study.” Following their talks, Chin, Henry, and Nambiar received feedback from faculty panelists. Chin comments, “It was anxiety inducing, exciting, embarrassing, exhilarating and one of the greatest learning experiences I have had. The feedback we received was critical, useful information that can be applied towards a successful job interview.”
Other Holmes Scholars were able to share their research at the conference. Darla Edwards presented at a roundtable session on “Increasing Minority Students’ Achievement in Math through Family Engagement.” Tamika Jackson presented at a roundtable on “Addressing Internalized Racism and Anti-Blackness Among Black Counseling Students.” Tai Exumé, presented at a table talk discussion entitled “Strengths and Protective Factors: Mental Health in NCAA Athletes” where they focused on mental health among NCAA college athletes, specifically, protective factors and unique stressors of collegiate athletes versus their peers. Exumé shares, “This was my first time attending a conference for academia. I have attended conferences as an athlete and an athletics coach but not as an academic or researcher. I was very excited to find others who had intersecting interests for research as there are not many people I have had a chance to work with at William & Mary who directly align with my research interests. A highlight for me was seeing so many other people like me at the conference who were new to research or were mentors to those of us new to the field.”
During the conference, the Holmes Scholars were able to network and learn new strategies for the future. Edwards shares, “One of the highlights of the conference for me was getting to meet the editor of AACTE’s Journal of Teacher Education. She gave us impactful tips and strategies on the peer-review process and suggestions for becoming an effective peer-reviewer. I am excited to stay connected with the many influential researchers and scholars who attended this event.”
Participating in the AACTE Conference is an annual tradition for W&M Holmes Scholars, and as Henry plans to graduate this year, he comments on his final year at AACTE and as a Holmes Scholar, “I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to attend a second conference and see how the work of scholars from other universities evolved since last year. W&M was well represented at the conference, and I believe we made our mark. A big thank you to Holmes Scholar Program Director, Dr. Stephanie Blackmon for providing support to all of us who were in attendance and for the W&M Holmes Scholars Program.”
Dr. Blackmon comments, “I am so proud of the W&M Holmes Scholars’ excellent work at this year's AACTE Conference. I’m especially happy that the graduating scholars were able to share their dissertation work with such a large, supportive audience of potential colleagues and employers and that continuing scholars were able to build connections that may later support their research and employment goals.”