Holmes Scholars

AACTE logo: The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Established in 1991 by the Holmes Group and supported by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Holmes Scholars Program seeks to provide mentorship, peer support, professional development, and rich scholarly experiences to students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds who are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE member institutions. Since its inception, more than 700 Holmes Scholars have benefited from taking part in the program.

In Fall 2020, UConn’s Neag School of Education was selected to join the more than 50 higher education institutions nationwide currently sponsoring the Holmes Scholars Program.

Why Apply to Become a Holmes Scholar?

The Neag School has pledged to cover the costs of sending each of its Holmes Scholars to the AACTE’s annual conference, as well as the two-day preconference exclusive to Holmes Scholars, for a minimum of three years. In addition, Holmes Scholars also benefit through:

  • Membership in a national network of peers through online social networks and other events

  • Mentorship opportunities by Holmes Scholar alumni currently in academia and other leadership opportunities

  • Opportunities to attend dedicated sessions at AACTE’s Annual Meeting as well as opportunities to present your research and attend a dedicated job fair for scholars

  • An opportunity to attend AACTE’s annual Washington Week and participation in the AACTE Day on the Hill which includes networking events with AACTE state chapter leaders, and meeting with members of Congress

How Are Scholars Selected?

  • Current doctoral students enrolled at UConn’s Neag School of Education who are from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and pursuing careers in education are invited to submit an online application to become a Holmes Scholar. Further details regarding the application process will be made available in Spring 2021.

  • Please note that Holmes Scholars must be committed to:

    • Serving a three-year term

    • Participating in UConn Holmes Scholars meetings and activities

    • Attending the AACTE Annual Meeting

    • Submitting proposals to present their research at the AACTE Annual Meeting

    • Participating at least once in the AACTE Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute and AACTE Day on the Hill

    • Considering affiliate membership in the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) during their final year in the program

Meet Holmes Scholar Sandra Silva-Enos


I was born in Lima, Peru, but grew up in both New London, Connecticut, and Waterford, Connecticut.

Which academic program are you in?

I am currently in EDCI [the Department of Curriculum and Instruction] focusing on Bilingual and Bicultural education.

Why did you seek to join the Holmes Program at UConn’s Neag School?

I sought to join the Holmes program because I believe in the power of mentorship and peer support. I think there is something so powerful in community support and mentorship, and as a student of color it is not always easy to find that community in the higher education world. The Holmes Program makes that world more of a reality. 

Where were you previous to joining the program?

Prior to joining the program, I was working on a research project focused on sociocultural competence in the dual language classroom. I was and am working with a fabulous research team who are dedicated to the importance of critical consciousness and equity for our linguistically and culturally diverse students.

What do you hope to learn/gain through your experience in the Holmes Program?

Through this experience I hope to gain a network of support and be able to provide support, mentorship, and encouragement to others. I hope to fuel and continue my strength, motivation and determination through interactions with mentors, who look like me and have similar life experiences, who have found their place in the world of academia.

Meet Holmes Scholar Kenya M. Overton


Springfield, Massachusetts

Which academic program are you in?

Mathematics Education Ph.D. program

Why did you seek to join the Holmes Program at UConn’s Neag School?

Encouraged by my advisor, I sought to join the Holmes Program to further my agenda of providing quality mathematics education for all.

Where were you previous to joining the program?

Previously, I was teaching secondary mathematics in a public school in Connecticut.

What do you hope to learn/gain through your experience in the Holmes Program?

Being the only Black woman in my field at UConn, I hope to become a part of a network of individuals who are as passionate about math education as I am.


Sandra Silva-Enos, Holmes Scholars Program member.

Sandra Silva-Enos ’10 (CLAS) is a former English teacher who has taught many different grade levels and in a variety of positions, including work as an ESL tutor. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UConn and a master’s degree in English literature from Western Connecticut State University. She has recently returned to UConn as a Neag School Dean’s Doctoral Scholar to pursue a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in bilingual and bicultural education. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Silva-Enos)

Holmes Scholar Kenya Overton.

Kenya Overton ’08 6th Year, current Neag School doctoral student, earned her BA in mathematics from Westfield State College, MS in mathematics from the University of Mississippi, and 6th Year in educational leadership from UConn. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Overton devoted nearly 20 years in public education as an administrator, teacher, and mentor in secondary and postsecondary environments. (Photo courtesy of Kenya Overton)

Meet Holmes Scholar Anamaria Arteaga


Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Which academic program are you in?

Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in School Psychology

Why did you seek to join the Holmes Program at UConn’s Neag School?

Working with students in the Human Rights and Action Learning Community through my graduate assistantship and personally adopting the ethics of advocacy from the National Association for School Psychologists, I have developed a commitment to active citizenship by working towards legislative changes that will positively impact education. Being bilingual and interested in working with bilingual learners and their families, I was interested in connecting with other students and professionals from diverse backgrounds who are working within education for community and support to achieve this shared goal.

Where were you previous to joining the program?

Prior to enrolling in the School Psychology graduate program at UConn, I was working as a full-time Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in Rhode Island, providing in-home applied behavior analysis services to clients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

What do you hope to learn/gain through your experience in the Holmes Program?

I am looking forward to the future collaboration and support network as I complete my doctoral studies. I am also looking forward to participating in the AACTE’s annual Washington Week to learn more about active citizenship to promote legislative change in education to provide an equitable educational experience for students who have been historically disproportionately affected by educational laws, policies, and practices.


Holmes Scholar Anamaria Arteaga.

Anamaria Arteaga is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Neag School under the advising and mentorship of Professor Lisa Sanetti. She is currently a graduate assistant with Community Outreach and primarily works with first- and second-year students in the Human Rights and Action Learning Community as the service learning course instructor. She has a background working in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) as a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) working with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other related disabilities.

Currently she is employed part time with Strong Foundations LLC. as the RBT Requirements Coordinator, BCBA trainee supervisor, and professional development instructor. Arteaga grew up in a bilingual home, whose parents, originally from Colombia, spoke both Spanish and English at home and emphasized the importance of maintaining her heritage language and culture throughout her life since she was young. Arteaga is committed to supporting bilingual learners and their families in receiving an equitable educational experience. Her research interests include applied behavior analysis, implementation science, systems theory, consultation, and supporting bilingual learners and their families. (Photo courtesy of Anamaria Arteaga)

Robert Cotto and Professor Morgaen Donaldson listen to Nathan Jones at CEPA event

How Do I Apply?

To be considered for the Holmes Scholars Program at the Neag School, please submit the following via the following online web form:

The Neag School is accepting Holmes Scholars program applications from doctoral students beginning in Spring 2021.

Applications are due by March 15.

Holmes Program Applications

Please be sure to gather all of your application materials before beginning this application form.
  • Accepted file types: docx, pdf, doc, png, txt, rtf, jpg, Max. file size: 100 MB.
  • Accepted file types: docx, pdf, doc, png, txt, rtf, jpg, Max. file size: 100 MB.

    Your statement must detail the following:

    • 1. Your professional goals

    • 2. Your research interests

    • 3. Why you want to become a UConn Holmes Scholar

    • 4. Commitment to scholarship, diversity, and educational practice

    • 5. How you hope to contribute to the program

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Meet Holmes Scholar Clarisa Rodrigues


Monroe, Connecticut

Which academic program are you in?

Educational Psychology, Special Education doctoral program

Why did you seek to join the Holmes Program at UConn’s Neag School?

I have wanted to be a Holmes Scholar since I was an undergraduate student at SCSU. I learned about the Holmes through participating in the AACTE with the Dean’s Leadership group I was a part of at SCSU. I wanted the opportunity to connect with fellow doctoral students who can unite to provide support and mentorship to one another.

Where were you previous to joining the program?

Prior to joining the program at UConn as a doctoral student I worked a special education teacher in a self-contained classroom.

What do you hope to learn/gain through your experience in the Holmes Program?

I hope to find a group of students to connect with and a mentor that could provide guidance and support through my doctoral studies. 


Meet Holmes Scholar Dominique Battle-Lawson


Washington, D.C., raised in Silver Spring, Maryland

Which academic program are you in?

Ph.D. in Reading Education

Why did you seek to join the Holmes Program at UConn’s Neag School?

I am very excited to meet people who are pursuing graduate school degrees. I am also very happy to be involved in mentorship opportunities.

Where were you previous to joining the program?

Currently, I am the Assistant Director of Student Support at the Neag School of Education.

What do you hope to learn/gain through your experience in the Holmes Program?

I am excited to gain support as I pursue new academic opportunities.


Holmes Scholar Clarisa Rodrigues.

Clarisa Rodrigues is a doctoral student and CBER (Center for Behavioral Education and Research) graduate assistant in the Educational Psychology program at UConn. She has a master’s degree in educational psychology with a concentration in special education from UConn and a bachelor’s degree in special education from Southern Connecticut State University. She also taught special education in a self-contained classroom for students with severe academic and behavioral needs.

Working closely with students and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Rodrigues says she felt a connection to her own culturally and linguistically diverse background and saw many areas for development in the special education field in terms of supporting this population of students and their families. She is passionate about to continuing to learn more about policy around bilingual learners and immigrant family supports. She also looks forward to doing research on the intersections between race, culture, language, and disability. (Photo courtesy of Clarisa Rodrigues)

Holmes Scholar Dominique Battle-Lawson.

Dominique Battle-Lawson is a Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut in the Curriculum in Instruction Department (EDCI) in Reading Education. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2009 and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction in 2008, both from UConn. She taught children as an elementary teacher for seven years, adults at the college level as a developmental-English instructor at a community college for two years, and high school English in a TRIO program for four years.

Her research interest includes literacy evaluations of the systemic and structural bias for marginalized communities in public education, specifically within literacy and formative assessments within the U.S. She seeks to promote methods of education that seek new opportunities for marginalized students.

Currently, she is the Assistant Director of Student Support at UConn’s Neag School, where she assists students in their growth and development by constructing meaningful educational plans that are compatible with their life goals. She is a member of various professional organizations, including the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), and the Network Improvement Community (NIC). Dominique also serves as an advisor of Leadership in Diversity (LID), a student organization focusing on; increasing diversity in education, and as an advisor for the Neag School’s Teacher Education Student Association (TESA), an organization for all Neag School teacher preparation students. (Photo courtesy of Dominique Battle-Lawson)

Diandra J. Prescod.
Associate Professor Diandra J. Prescod, Holmes Scholar alumna and Holmes Scholars Program coordinator at the Neag School.

Other Questions?

Please contact Diandra J. Prescod at diandra.prescod@uconn.edu.

Prescod, associate professor of counselor education and program coordinator of the Holmes Scholars Program at the Neag School, is also an alumna of the University of Central Florida’s Holmes Scholars Program.