Skip to main content

College of Education

Holmes Scholars

Main Content

TCU is proud to be part of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Holmes Scholars Program. Holmes Scholars at TCU will join a national network of students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and are pursuing doctoral degrees. Holmes Scholars are selected based on their academic achievements and their commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of education.

As a member institution, TCU’s College of Education will provide financial support and mentorship through the AACTE program. Each student will serve a 3-year term, participating in research, advocacy and policy initiatives, including the AACTE Annual Meeting and the Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute.

To learn more about this program or to become a Holmes Scholar, contact the Program Coordinator:

Jan Lacina, Ph.D.
Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies


Faculty mentors include:

Frank Hernandez, Ph.D.
Endia Lindo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Floyd Wormley, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies


  • Membership in a national network of peers with access to dedicated online social networks
  • Mentoring opportunities by Holmes Scholar alumni currently in academia and other leadership positions
  • Opportunities to present their research at the AACTE Annual Meeting
  • Dedicated mentoring programs at the AACTE Annual Meeting
  • A job fair at the AACTE Annual Meeting and access to position announcements through the year
  • Annual Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., including participation in AACTE’s Day on the Hill and networking events associated with the AACTE State Leaders Institute
  • Leadership and professional development opportunities at the national level, such as participation in conference presentations and policy/advocacy training

Individuals eligible for selection as AACTE Holmes Scholars must:

  • Be enrolled in a doctoral program within the College of Education
  • Self-identify as members of racially and ethnically diverse groups traditionally underrepresented in the education professoriate or in leadership positions, or education research fields
  • Currently or plan to engage in the following types of research:
    - Teacher education (preservice and/or in-service)
    - School-based focus (e.g., educational administration/leadership, science education, curriculum studies, or counseling)
    - Educational research focus (e.g., educational measurement and statistics, qualitative inquiry)
    - Or other areas related to education
  • Agree to participate in university-school-community collaborative partnership arrangements, for research, service, or advocacy activities

To apply to become a Holmes Scholar in TCU’s College of Education, please complete an application for the program. Required application materials include:

  • A 3-4 page curriculum vitae
  • A 2-3 page statement outlining:
    - Describe your professional goals
    - Describe your commitment to scholarship, educational practice, and improvement
    - Why do you want to be a TCU Holmes Scholar?
    - How do you plan to contribute to the program?

To learn more about the application process, contact the Program Coordinator:

Jan Lacina, Ph.D.
Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Awardees are expected to:

  • Serve a 3-year term
  • Participate in the AACTE Annual Meeting, including the Holmes Scholars pre-conference events
  • Submit proposals to present their research at the AACTE Annual Meeting each year they are in the program
  • Participate at least once in the AACTE Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute and AACTE Day on the Hill
  • Participate in at least one other education conference, such as that of the American Educational Research
  • Association, the Association of Teacher Educators, or another organization within their discipline
  • Propose and implement a project that relates to or forwards the goals of AACTE and authentically engages them in advocacy, policy, service, or research work that furthers high-quality and equitable educator preparation
  • Participate in activities and meetings sponsored by the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) during their final year in the Holmes Scholars Program (some of which occur at the AACTE Annual Meeting)
  • Consider affiliate membership in NAHSA during their final year in the program

Cara Jones 
Educational Leadership Doctoral Student 

Cara Jones is pursuing a degree in K-12 Educational Leadership. Her doctoral work is focused on racial identity development, Critical Race Theory, and data use in schools. She is particularly interested in how biracial students develop their racial identity in school and critical quantitative studies. Cara has worked for the last eight years in K-12 education as a teacher, instructional coach, data analyst and curriculum specialist. She also serves as an adjunct professor in the TCU College of Education. Cara holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from TCU and a bachelor’s in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin. Cara has a wonderful partner, Trevon, and an amazing toddler, Lucas – both who inspire her every day.
Cara Jones


Ebony Love
Educational Leadership Doctoral Student

Ebony Love received her master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Alabama along with a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from TCU. Prior to starting her doctoral program, Ebony worked as an assistant principal, administrative intern through the TCU Principal Fellows program and has taught chemistry, debate and coached cheer. Her research interests include understanding the intersection of data and educational policy, empowerment of individual districts and examining how politics impact decision making in education. Outside of academia, she enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, reading, and watching college football. Her mission as an educational leader is to create growth-centered environments in which individuals are empowered to innovate in order to cultivate success in all students as learners and individuals.
Ebony Love


Leslie Ekpe 
Higher Educational Leadership Doctoral Student

Leslie received her B.S. in Management from Alabama A&M University, her M.A. in Communication Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and M.B.A. with a focus in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. Leslie was a Professional Communications teacher for Uplift Education prior to joining Texas Christian University. Her work aims to promote access for marginalized students at the K-12 and post-secondary education levels. Her research interests include Black women in leadership, college access policies, student activism in the digital age, racial politics in education, and fairness within intercollegiate athletics.
Leslie Ekpe


Ariela Martinez
Higher Educational Leadership Doctoral Student 

Ariela Martinez is an experienced college access and higher education professional who has served students from diverse academic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds at both the high school and collegiate level. Her professional work includes: TRiO Student Support Services Lead Ambassador, College Adviser via TCU College Advising Corps, Success Coach at Tarrant County College (TCC), and Senior Transfer Admission Counselor and adjunct instructor at Texas Christian University (TCU). Ariela earned her Associate degree from Tarrant County College (TCC) and her B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from TCU, where she is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership. As a critical scholar, her research interests center on issues of educational equity in higher education for minoritized students.
Ariela Martinez