CEHD Holmes Scholars Program

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The Holmes Scholars® Program was originally established in 1991 by the Holmes Group (which later evolved into the Holmes Partnership) with the primary goal of establishing equity, diversity, and cultural competence in programs of higher education and P-12 schools. The program was designed to enrich the scholarly experience and professional training of talented graduate-level students from underrepresented minority backgrounds or students with disabilities pursuing careers in education. Under the leadership of Raphael O. Nystrand, the School of Education (now the College of Education and Human Development) became a charter member of the Holmes Group, a consortium of research universities founded in 1986 for the purpose of improving teacher education. The Holmes Scholar program is under the leadership of Dr. Geneva Stark, Director of the Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education.

In 2011, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) assumed ownership of the distinguished Holmes Scholars® Program, becoming the AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program. The AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program provides mentorship, peer support and professional development to education doctoral students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, especially racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. Participating institutions may offer scholarships, fellowships or tuition waivers in addition to mentoring and financial support for scholars to attend national conferences.

CEHD Holmes Scholars Program Application

Deadline: April 16, 2021
View 2021 Application Flyer

Application Process

Please send the following to Dr. Geneva A. Stark at gspric01@louisville.edu

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A statement (500 words) indicating a commitment to educational practice and improvement and your research agenda regarding equity and diversity and stating why the Holmes Scholar designation is an aspiration for you.
  • A letter of nomination from a faculty member
  • University of Louisville Holmes Scholar Program Application
  • Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. April 16, 2021

Holmes Scholars – Advisory Committee

  • Dr. Bianca Nightengale-Lee – Florida Atlantic University Professor - U of L Holmes Scholar Alum
  • Dr. James Chisholm – U of L Professor
  • Dr. Henry Cunningham – Director of Community Engagement
  • Dr. Tia Dumas – Clemson University Professor -- U of L Holmes Scholar Alum
  • Dr. Kimmerly Harrell – U of L School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology-HNS and Communicative Disorders – University of Central Florida Holmes Scholar Alum
  • Dr. Kish Price – Louisville Urban League -- U of L Holmes Scholar Alum
  • Dr. Bonnie Marshall—Education Leader/Consultant

CEHD Holmes Scholars®

Kaycee Gibbs

Kayce J. Gibbs is a newly admitted PhD student at the University of Louisville studying in the Educational Leadership and Organizational Development (ELOD) program with a potential specialization in P-12 Administration. She holds a MS Ed in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, along with a teaching certificate in Curriculum and Instruction. Kayce is a St. Louis native and has worked in both P-12 and higher education arenas as a teacher and academic coordinator. Her research interests are in policy analysis and P-12 methodology and approach to curriculum and instruction. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and she looks forward to creating, implementing, and provoking change within the P-12 education system.

Cynthia Thomas

Cynthia Thomas is a doctoral student within the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Curriculum and Instruction program with a focus on STEM education. Her areas of research interest center on undergraduate cybersecurity education in online settings and the role of authenticity in women of color in cybersecurity courses. Cynthia has taught higher-education courses related to computer systems, computer networking, computer forensics and cybersecurity for several years. As a professor, Ms. Thomas observed the challenges students faced when taking online courses and became interested in creating classes and providing instruction to better serve her students. While pursuing her doctoral degree, Cynthia also became interested in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This interest led to an awareness that focusing on these social justice issues are viable avenues towards disrupting the gender and racial disparities within cybersecurity education and its professional spaces. Ms. Thomas hopes her academic journey, educator-practitioner and research experiences can positively contribute to the academic domain.

Yohimar Sivira

Yohimar Sivira Gonzalez is a PhD candidate in Curriculum and Instruction: Languages, Literacies, Cultures and Communities and the UofL Holmes Scholar 2019. She holds a MA in TESOL from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Yohimar came to the US through a Fulbright Scholarship for the Faculty Development Program 2016-2018 after working in Venezuela for 9 years as an EFL instructor. Her research interests are related to bilingual education, English Language Learners (ELLs) and language policies supporting ELLs in elementary and secondary education. Yohimar is the graduate research associate for the Early Childhood Research Center at the College of Education and Human Development. She is a voluntary graduate research assistant for the Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research at the University of Louisville.

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Peter Azmani

Peter Azmani
As a previous middle school science educator, in urban districts, I have a deep passion for providing students of marginalized groups with the opportunities to succeed in science and mathematics. I earned my first M.Ed in Urban Education from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. After teaching for 2 years, I went on to earn a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as a M.Ed in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. I spent 7 years in middle school education before setting my sights on a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on STEM education from the University of Louisville. I am currently nearing the end of my coursework and hope to begin work on my dissertation in the coming year. My research interests are focused on project-based learning strategies in urban, middle school science classrooms. It is my hope to shine a light on current opportunities and best practice for both students and teachers in science education.

Lorita Rowlett

Lorita Rowlett
My name is Lorita Rowlett. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a focus on individuals with complex needs at the University of Louisville. I am member of Project PURPLE which focuses on both rural and urban learning environments. I obtained my bachelor's degree in Elementary education from the University of Louisville. I also obtained my master’s degree in Teacher Leadership and Autism from the University of Louisville. I was previously an educator for students with moderate to severe disabilities for 8 years.

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Holmes Scholars® Alumni


Dr. Bianca Nightengale Lee

Dr. Bianca Nightengale Lee received her Ph.D from the University of Louisville in 2017. Currently, she serves as an Assistant Professor in the department of Curriculum Culture & Educational Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University. As a critically engaged community scholar, her work centers on academic, school, and community based settings. Her research explores critical pedagogy as it relates to socially conscious, humanizing and inclusive educational practice. Dr. Nightengale-Lee's scholarship interrogates, resists, and re-frames traditionalized notions of curriculum development to produce equitable learning conditions for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Through her teaching she is committed to preparing the next generation of educators to meet the demands of 21st century learning contexts, which reflect the racially, socially, and politically charged structures that shape education, and the practical pathways that lead to more humanizing modes of pedagogy.

Dr. Tia Dumas

Dr. Tia N. Dumas is the Assistant Dean for Professional Development and Inclusive Excellence in the Graduate School at Clemson University. She holds a doctorate in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Louisville, an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Oregon. Dr. Dumas is the architect of GRAD 360°, Clemson University's comprehensive and inclusive model of professional development for approximately 6,000 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. In her role, Dr. Dumas leads a portfolio of professional development trainings, classes, certificates, mentoring events and other experiences that support the holistic success of Clemson’s graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty. Dr. Dumas also chairs the Graduate School’s strategic planning process toward inclusive excellence to develop Clemson University into a more accessible, inclusive and socially just institution.

In addition to her role in the Graduate School, Dr. Dumas holds an appointment as a Provost’s Fellow in the Office of the Provost at Clemson University. In this role, Dr. Dumas guides academic and corporate partnership strategies for effective co-curricular undergraduate and graduate student experiences.

Dr. Dumas' research interests include cultural competence in a P-20 context, culturally responsive skills acquisition and development in professional advising and graduate mentoring, models of graduate student professional development, and impacts of professional development on graduate educational outcomes. She also holds a clinical appointment in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development at Clemson University.

Dr. Kish Cumi Price

Dr. Kish Cumi Price is the Director of Education Policy and Programming at the Louisville Urban League. She has served in schools and communities largely representing minoritized populations as an executive director of an integrated health care pediatric office, elementary school counselor, CEO of a mentoring/tutoring program for middle school students, a clinical mental health counselor for high school students, and a researcher and counselor educator. In addition to establishing her life's work focused on historically marginalized youth, families, and communities, she undergirds her framework with spiritual, physical, and mental wellness. She embraces a distinct call to fight for educational and social justice for youth and their families.

Dr. Kish, a National Holmes Alumni, is a native of Flint, Michigan and Franklin, Tennessee. She received her doctorate from the University of Louisville (Counselor Education and Supervision) and her B.A. (Psychology) and M.A.Ed. (Counselor Education, School Counseling) from Wake Forest University. Dr. Kish is a proud wife and mother of ten children.

Brittany Carpenter Cunningham

Dr. Brittany Carpenter Cunningham is a Research Scientist with CNA’s Institute of Public Research. She is an expert in scientific research and analysis and has more than a decade of experience designing, implementing, and managing rigorous research studies and evaluations at the local-, state- and national- level. Dr. Cunningham has led and supported grants and projects from several federal agencies including the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Currently, Dr. Cunningham serves as the Project Director for the Using Analytics to Improve Officer Safety study, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which investigates police incident data to support the development of a risk assessment model to support officers assess risk and take appropriate safety protocols in real time when responding to incidents.

She serves as Project Manager for the National Institute of Justice- funded randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the impact of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, which is one of the first RCTs of BWCs in a correctional setting. Further, Dr. Cunningham serves as Senior Advisor for the Administration for Children and Families Child Care Interstate Background Check contract to assess the barriers and challenges for states to implement interstate background checks required by the 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. Prior to her current work in public safety research, Dr. Cunningham served as principal investigator on various projects for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia and REL Midwest funded by the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Dr. Fashaad Crawford

Dr. Fashaad Crawford
I have been at NC State University in Raleigh, NC for the last four years, currently serving as Vice Provost. In this role I aid the Provost in the oversight of the university's accreditation (SACSCOC) and student learning and administrative unit assessment processes. The Office of Assessment and Accreditation, which I oversee, also supports the university's academic program review process in conjunction with the Graduate School. Prior to NC State, I taught and was an associate vice president and later an assistant provost at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and before that faculty at UofL.

Dr. Yolanda Williams

Dr. Yolanda Williams
I work as a Systems Behavior Support Specialist for Jefferson County Public Schools. I work on interdisciplinary teams to create behavior support plans for JCPS Elementary students. I train staff and administrators on how to carry out the plan. I also help create and conduct trainings for JCPS staff. I also work as a behavior analyst and counselor for individuals with traumatic brain injuries.