Every June, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) hosts a week of networking activities in our nation’s capitol. As the Holmes Scholars representative for UVM, I joined eleven other doctoral students from across the country for its Summer Policy Institute, held for three days during 2015’s Washington Week. The theme was “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession.”
The AACTE Holmes Scholar Program was established in 1991 to support doctoral students who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds and also pursuing careers in education. The Summer Policy Institute provides scholars with an opportunity to network with their peers, receive mentorship from professionals in the field, and tour local education organizations. (The blog post that I co-wrote about our June visit to the Federal Department of Education can be viewed here.) This year was my second opportunity to attend the Institute, and what I found most valuable was the opportunity to discuss my research interests and career goals with Holmes alumni. The generous advice that I received in these one-to-one conversations were empowering, and I came back to Vermont very eager to get back to my research.
In early August, it was announced that the Holmes Scholars Program will begin an initiative to expand its efforts to recruit students– especially racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities, and those with disabilities—who are at earlier stages in their education. The ultimate goal is to diversify the education profession, by creating a “pipeline” for students who may benefit from more mentorship and support. (Read about a pilot program happening at William Paterson University of New Jersey this fall.)
Here at UVM, a small group of doctoral students specifically interested in college access for students from diverse backgrounds, has been meeting periodically to discuss how to coordinate our outreach and support efforts to current and prospective students in the College of Education and Social Services. If you would like more information about our work or if you would like to get involved, please contact me!