Current Scholars

Deborah King McEwan

Deborah King McEwan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include Black student achievement with a focus on males, the role of the Black church in public education, the school-to-prison pipeline, multicultural education, and culturally relevant pedagogy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Trinity International University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Gulf Coast University. She also earned an additional Bachelors in Ministry from Faith Theological Seminary. Deborah has over 20 years of prior banking and auditing experience and occupied the position of vice-chair of the South Florida Diversity Committee for her former employer. She was a Bank Examiner commissioned by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and she is a Certified Internal Auditor. In addition, she has been a spiritual and educational leader in her church for over 25 years. As a career changer, Deborah is an instructor of multicultural education courses for undergraduate preservice teachers. She has presented at a select number of local and state conferences and has independently published and co-authored other articles currently under review for publication. In addition to being a Holmes Scholar, Deborah has been a McKnight Fellowship recipient since 2014.


Kayla Elliott

Kayla C. Elliott is pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Leadership at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include higher education policy, equity, philanthropy, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Fisk University and a Masters from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and has worked with a range of education organizations including Lumina Foundation, the Southern Education Foundation, and Teach For America. As a research assistant, Kayla is a member of the Urban Male Initiative research team, the Associate Research Director for the National Science Foundation supported ADVANCE FAU initiative, and an instructor of undergraduate courses on student success and leadership. Kayla has co-authored multiple publications and presented research at the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the Council for the Study of Community Colleges. In addition to receiving endowed scholarships from Fisk and IUPUI, Kayla was a 2015-2016 Provost Fellow and recently received a P.E.O. Scholar Award for 2017-2018 year.


Kalynn Hall

Kalynn Hall Pistorio is pursuing an EdD in Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include kindergarten readiness skills, literacy based behavioral interventions, developmental delays, and intellectual disabilities. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Student Education and a Master of Science in Leadership (Educational and Human Services) at Nova Southeastern University. She taught in the public school system teaching elementary students with intellectual disabilities for four years and prior to that she taught in private preschools working with children who were six weeks old through voluntary prekindergarten. As a research assistant Kalynn has had 5 co-authored manuscripts accepted for publication and over 20 presentations that have been accepted at various regional, national, and international conferences. She has served as the president of the FAU College of Education Student Achievement Council, co-chaired the College of Education Fall Research Symposium, been the vice-president of Kappa Delta Pi- Rho Omega, and is currently the elected research coordinator for the Holmes National Board. In addition to being a Holmes Scholar, Kalynn receives funding under an OSEP grant entitled Mentor-Lead; she has received also received travel grants from the FAU-COE, research funding through a TAFT grant, and was the recipient of the Nora Elizabeth Temple Family Scholarship.


Brianna Joseph

Brianna Joseph is pursuing a Ed.D in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include physical fitness for adults with intellectual disabilities, adaptive fitness, school-to-work transition services for adults with disabilities, and disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in ESE. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Masters in ESE from Florida Atlantic University. She is the advocacy representative for the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) at her university. She is also the Social Media Coordinator of the Holmes Scholars Program. She has co-authored multiple publications and presented over 15 presentations at international, national, and regional conferences. She has created and implemented four professional development programs in public schools within her state, taught and supervised undergraduate preservice teachers, and is the project supervisor for a 1.2 million funded special education grant by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). In addition to receiving the Provost Fellowship and the Presidential Fellowship scholarships, Brianna is the College of Education 2017 Parliament Owls Talon Award Ambassador.