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.

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: March 11, 2022

Application Process

Please send the following to Dr. Michele Foster at michele.foster@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. March 11, 2022

Holmes Scholars

Cynthia Thomas

Cynthia Thomas is a Holmes Scholar, Graduate Research Assistant, and doctoral candidate in the Department of Elementary, Middle and Secondary Teacher Education (EMSTed) in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Her research interest centers on postsecondary cybersecurity education instructional practices in online and hybrid modalities and Broadening Participation in Cybersecurity (BPCy).

Ms. Thomas is a Lecturer II of Cybersecurity at Northern Kentucky University, where she teaches courses in computing systems, computer networking, computer forensics and cybersecurity. As a professor, Ms. Thomas observed challenges her students encountered in online and hybrid learning environments and endeavors to create benefitting educational experiences guided by research-based practices and theories from the education and learning sciences. Ms. Thomas’ interest in diversity, equity and inclusion is a catalyst for her exploration and redress of social justice issues within the domain of cybersecurity. Her work as a cybersecurity educator-practitioner is informed by critical theories such as Black Feminist Thought, Critical Race Feminism, Critical Race Theory and QuantCrit, to disrupt gender and racial disparities in cybersecurity education.

Ms. Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences from the University of Kentucky, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology from Northern Kentucky University, a Master’s in Digital Forensics from the University of Central Florida and holds multiple industry certifications in computing and cybersecurity.

Tara Harmon

Tara Harmon is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education, Early Childhood, and Prevention Science (SECP) in the College of Education and Human Development. Her focus is on Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Special Education. Mrs. Harmon is a scholar under the Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) Preparing Urban and Rural Personnel as Leaders in Education (Project PURPLE).

Mrs. Harmon has ten years of educator experience in the state of Kentucky as a Special Education Teacher. Over her teaching tenure, she has taught students with many disabilities. Her passion and areas of research interest are students with extensive support needs and transition services to post-secondary education. Mrs. Harmon’s interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion has her investigating disproportionate and over-representation of student diagnosis in special education of People of Color.

Mrs. Harmon has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Murray State University, a Master of Arts in Education with a focus in Moderate to Severe Disabilities from Murray State University, and received her Rank 1 from the University of Kentucky, receiving a certificate as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.




Louis Redd

Louis Redd is a Holmes Scholar, Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Michèle Foster, and a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Human Development. His specific research interests include Language, Literacy, Cultures, and Communities (L2C2) with an emphasis on African American English.

Mr. Redd is an eighth-grade math teacher at Stuart Academy, which is located within the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) system. He began his teaching career at Stuart in August of 2020, during which time JCPS was implementing Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) (i.e. fully and then partially online instruction) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During his time as a teacher, Mr. Redd noticed that there are great disparities between the level of success that many Students of Color are exhibiting during their educational career and has wondered why this divide is so prevalent. Mr. Redd hopes to use this education within the L2C2 program, combined with his growing teaching experience, to answer these questions and generate a solution.

Mr. Redd has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside and a Master of Arts in Education: Teaching from the University of Louisville.

Lorita Rowlett

Lorita Rowlett
Lorita Rowlett is a doctoral student and Holmes Scholar in the Department of Special Education, Early Childhood, and Prevention Sciences (SECP) in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Her program is Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Special Education. She is also a member of the Project PURPLE (Preparing Urban and Rural Personnel as Leaders in Education) grant funded by the Office of Special Education Program (OSEP)

Mrs. Rowlett is a former public school educator of students with moderate to severe disabilities in the state of Kentucky. She held the role of an educator of this diverse population for 8 years. Her research interests are transition services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, as well as comprehensive sexuality and relationship programming for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Mrs. Rowlett holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Elementary Education with a concentration in Moderate to Severe Disabilities and Master of Education in Teacher Leadership and Autism , both obtained at the University of Louisville.

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Board of Advisors


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.

Daniele Terson

Dr. Daniele Terson de Paleville is an Associate Professor of Health and Sports Science in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Her research areas center on investigating issues related to spinal cord injury exercise, and relationships between exercise and academic performance in school settings. Dr. Terson de Paleville earned advanced degrees in Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Louisville and has been the recipient of several honors and awards, most notably for her work mentoring University of Louisville students.

Dr. Terson de Paleville teaches courses on human anatomy and physiology, and neurophysiology. Her teaching areas coupled with research interests on spinal cord injury rehabilitation and expertise in research methodologies such as quantitative intervention outcomes, longitudinal students and team-based active learning has prompted frequent scholarly journal contributions for over 14 years.


Dr. James Chisholm is an associate professor in the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development. As an English Education professor in the Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Teacher Education (EMSTEd) department, Dr. Chisholm guides his students in the areas of adolescent literacy, English methods, young adult literature, and qualitative research methods. His recent research focuses on sociocultural and sociopolitical discourses in the teaching of writing, critical literacies and engagement with the arts, and belonging in a bilingual peer mentoring program.

Dr. Chisholm’s membership and involvement with professional organizations and societies such as the Literacy Research Association (LRA) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) represents his commitment to addressing issues in the teacher education domain. As an editor or board member of several scholarly journals, Dr. Chisholm continues to incorporate his expertise to the education and literacy literature base.

Tytianna Ringstaff

Dr. Tytianna Ringstaff , a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a transplant of Louisville, Kentucky, is the CEO and Founder of Honey Tree Publishing and the author of eight books, including the children’s book series "Sweet Pea and Sugar Tea’s Country Family Adventures: A Collection of African-American Poems" and "When Hip Hop Met Poetry: An Urban Love Story.” Dr. Ringstaff holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in English and Pan-African Studies, a Master of Arts in Pan-African Studies, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Louisville. She is a faculty/director of Simmons College of Kentucky and educator of classes and workshops on topics including the history and evolution of Black education in the United States, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Afrocentric curriculum, women and gender studies, creative writing, and book publishing.

Angela Story

Dr. Angela D. Storey completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona with a focus on socio-cultural and applied anthropology in 2016 and joined the UofL faculty that year. At UofL Dr. Storey teaches courses in environmental anthropology, urban anthropology, applied anthropology, and engaged pedagogy. While using learner-centered pedagogies and active learning practices in the courses Dr. Storey instructs, she received the Innovative Teaching in Social Science Award from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Delphi Center’s inaugural TILL Teaching Innovation Award in 2021.

Since 2010 Dr. Storey has been conducting ethnographic research in Cape Town, South Africa to explore the politics of water, sanitation, and electricity infrastructure within informal settlements. Since joining UofL, she has begun several Louisville-based projects, including as PI of a transdisciplinary project about community participation processes in association with Metro Louisville and as co-PI on recent projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Health Equity Innovation Hub. She is co-editor of the 2020 volume The Everyday Life of Urban Inequality, and of a 2022 special issue of the journal Collaborative Anthropologies on the topic of “Making Collaborative Futures.”

Marion Hambrick

Dr. Marion Hambrick Dr. Marion Hambrick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Louisville. Dr. Hambrick began his educational career as an Undergraduate student at Transylvania University where he received a BA in Finance. He then continued his education at the University of Kentucky where he would receive an MBA in Finance. Lastly, he received his PhD in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development with an emphasis in Sport Administration.

Dr. Hambrick has received the Red and Black Award, for the most outstanding advising and instruction in 2010 and in 2012 and has been a two time University of Louisville Faculty Favorite nominee in 2013 and 2015.

The teaching areas Dr. Hambrick includes Financial Principles in Sport (SPAD 404/604) and Doctoral Seminar in Sport Administration Research (SPAD 701) at the University of Louisville.

Michele Foster

Michèle Foster, Ph.D.


Henry Heuser Jr Endowed Chair for Urban Education Partnerships and Professor

Sheron Mark

Sheron Mark, Ph.D.


Associate Professor

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. 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.