Holmes Scholars Program

University of Northern Iowa is a Holmes Scholars institution as a member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). This program seeks to mentor and support racially and ethnically diverse graduate students in positions of leadership within the field of education. The program includes ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring and support for individuals who self-identify as racially or ethnically diverse. 

UNI Holmes Scholars are doctoral-level students. If you are entering the second year of the UNI Doctor of Education (EdD) program and self-identify as racially or ethnically diverse, you can apply to serve as a Holmes Scholar for up to two academic years. 

Program Coordinator:

Amy Nielsen, EdD
Interim Associate Dean in Graduate Studies
College of Education

Why the Holmes Scholars Program? 

The Holmes Program seeks to mentor and support racially and ethnically diverse graduate students in positions of leadership within the field of education. Research suggests that college students lack a sense of belonging and experience other challenges that can impede their ability to matriculate through their programs. The Holmes Program seeks to mitigate these issues through culturally responsive mentorship and supports.


  • Membership in national network of peers facilitated through events and online supports.
  • Access to national leadership and professional development at AACTE's Annual Meeting and Holmes Pre-conference. Full travel and funding provided to attend the conference.
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities with other students and faculty at AACTE members institutions.
  • Opportunities to present research at AACTE Annual Meeting.
  • Mentoring, support and professional development opportunities within COE.


  • Doctoral student entering second year of program
  • Self-identify as a racial or ethnic minority
  • Clearly stated educational, career and scholarship goals that are aligned with AACTE
  • Demonstrated potential for an academic career in the educational field

Getting Started

Application Process

If you are a doctoral student in the second year of your program and self-identify as racially or ethnically diverse, we encourage you to apply to the Holmes Scholars Program. Please submit the following materials to amy.nielsen@uni.edu.  

  • A 500 word essay demonstrating interest and committee to (1) future leadership in the field of education, and (2) equity and diversity in education
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Current resume/vita
  • List of three references 

Candidate Expectations

  • Attend monthly UNI COE Holmes Scholars meetings
  • Attend the national AACTE Conference and Holmes Scholars-related events. Full travel and funding provided by UNI to attend the conference February 16-18, 2024, in Denver, CO.  
  • Attend the AACTE Holmes Scholar Summer Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. and/or the AACTE Research Institute, if desired. 
  • Engage yearly in a national professional organization of your choice (e.g., American Educational Research Association, Literacy Research Association, etc.)
  • Submit a poster for the AACTE Holmes Scholar Poster Session


The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) elevates education and educator preparation through research, professional practice, advocacy and collaboration. It represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs. Its core values include:

  • Inquiry and innovation
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Quality and impact 

The goals of the AACTE include:

  • advancing the field of educator preparation through cutting edge research, innovative practice, and advocacy;
  • valuing the diversity of students, their families and educators and supporting equity access and inclusion of all students;
  • advocating for policies that are dedicated to building and sustaining high quality educator preparation.