BU Wheelock’s Holmes Program Supports Graduate Students

Since 2014, BU Wheelock has partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s Holmes Program to support current master’s and doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars who self-identify as racially and ethnically diverse. As part of the Holmes Program, participants receive mentorship, peer support, and professional development opportunities.

(L-R) Ava Jackson (Holmes postdoctoral associate), Rafael Villa, Jr. (Holmes Master’s Scholar), Efe Shavers (Holmes Scholar), and Laura Ottoni (Holmes Master’s Scholar) at the 2022 AACTE Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Photo courtesy of Efe Shavers.

This year, BU Wheelock’s Efe Shavers, a third-year doctoral student in applied human development, was named a Holmes Scholar. As a new Holmes Scholar, Shavers was able to attend the recent AACTE annual meeting to meet with other program participants.

“The Holmes conference during AACTE was life changing for me,” says Shavers. “To be in a room filled with people of color partaking in excellence while supporting each other was very inspiring.” Shavers hopes to present at AACTE next year.

“Efe’s research focuses on critically conscious teacher pedagogy and contextual issues around resilience and success of youth from historically marginalized groups,” says BU Wheelock’s Tina Durand, who is Shavers’ advisor. “Her work fits beautifully with the mission of the Holmes Scholars Program.”

At BU Wheelock, the Holmes Program is supported by Mike Dennehy, executive director of College Access and Student Success, and Beth Warren, Sylvia Earl Professor & director of the Earl Center for Learning & Innovation, Detris Adelabu, clinical professor of applied human development, and Andrea Bien, clinical assistant professor of elementary education. We spoke with several Holmes Program participants, both current and recent, about where they are now.


Shana Rochester, PhD

One of BU Wheelock’s inaugural Holmes postdoctoral associates

Currently: “I’m currently assistant director and research associate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities.”


Jeana E. Morrison, PhD

One of BU Wheelock’s inaugural Holmes postdoctoral associates

Currently: Morrison is currently an assistant professor of ethnic studies at Albion College. She also serves as the director of academic innovation.


Dana Dunwoody, PhD

One of BU Wheelock’s inaugural Holmes Scholars, Dana was the first Scholar to complete her PhD with the program.

Currently: “I recently completed a postdoc placement with BU Wheelock’s Earl Center for Learning and Innovation.”


Makeaela Jones

One of BU Wheelock’s inaugural Holmes Master’s Scholars

Currently: “I am in a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley.”


Ava Jackson, PhD

Holmes Postdoctoral Associate

Currently: “I’m currently working with Dr. Beth Warren and the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation.”


Rafael Villa, Jr.

Holmes Master’s Scholar

Currently: “I am excited to be part of a community of BIPOC people invested in education. Personally, I am getting my MAT in mathematics at BU, so this semester I am in the classroom every day teaching math. I am currently in Watertown High School doing my practicum.”


Laura Ottoni

Holmes Master’s Scholar

Currently: “I’m currently interning at BU’s Center on the Ecology of Early Development, where I help the team evaluate projects to support state advocacy infrastructure to advance equitable access to programs like Head Start and IDEA.”