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.


Danna Demezier

Danna Demezier is pursuing her Ph D in Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests are help seeking behaviors of Haitians living in South Florida, evidence-based practices for minority and ethnic groups, and unhealthy relationships and counseling implications. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida (UF) and a Master of Science in Psychology from Carlos Albizu University (CAU). Danna has 10 years of professional experience in community mental health and the non-profit sector. She is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and worked as the Lead Mental Health Consultant at her last place of employment. In her professional career, Danna has provided individual and family counseling to children and adults, parenting education for new parents, conflict resolution for high conflict families, and supportive services for Court-mandated clients and individuals impacted by domestic violence. As a research assistant, Danna has explored case conceptualization skills and gender issues in counseling students and professionals. In her personal life, Danna is an active volunteer who provides mentorship and hosts presentations on life issues and mental health concerns for youth and young adults in her church. She also volunteers on two committees of subdivisions for the American Counseling Association, serves as a mentor in the Mentorship Project at FAU, and is a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Counselor Education. In addition to being the recipient of scholarships at UF and CAU, Danna is a Holmes Scholars and received scholarships from Student Government and the COE's James Woodruff, Jr. Scholarship Fund at FAU.


Denise Dowdie

Denise J. Dowdie is pursuing a doctoral degree in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include health care, dietary selection, moral and social development, functional skills for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, and disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in special education. She earned a Master of Arts in Education with a focus in special education from Western Carolina University, North Carolina. Her Bachelor in Education degree was conferred by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in Mona, Jamaica. Denise works as an ESE Specialist at Margate middle school in Broward County, Florida. She is eager to improve her scholarship by producing scholarly writing and research for professional publications, collaborating with colleagues and leaders in the field, and making presentations at conferences. She is also interested in deepening her academic understanding by integrating service and learning as a peer reviewer for different journals and conferences. Denise is a recipient of the 2018-2019 Provost Fellowship.


Dominique Smart

Dominique Smart is a first year PhD student in the Higher Education Leadership program at Florida Atlantic University. Dominique is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Presidential Fellowship at FAU and serves as an Instructor for the Leadership studies minor. Dominique received a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology (2018) and Bachelor’s degree in Biology (2013) from Rutgers University. Dominique's current research interest involves student engagement, leadership development and assessment of underrepresented minority students interested in pursuing a STEM degree. Dominique's previous work examined confidence beliefs and the transfer rate of 2-year college STEM students mentored by 4-year college STEM mentors in a project called, cross-campus peer mentoring (CCPM). She presented the findings of CCPM at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in April 2018. Dominique is passionate about making contributions to advance our nation's STEM community and collaborating with multiple stakeholders to build meaningful opportunities for all students.


Shanett Dean

Shanett Dean is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include the school-to-prison pipeline, critical pedagogy, technology integration and critical literacy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of South Florida and a Master’s degree from New York University. Shanett has 10 years of experience as a literature, philosophy and research instructor and has facilitated professional development sessions on the implications and implementation of technology in the secondary classroom. She has presented her research at several national conferences including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For her innovation in the classroom, Shanett was a recipient of the Broward Education Foundation Teacher Grant for her work with Micro-Narratives and Project Based Learning. In addition to being a Holmes Scholar, Shanett was a 2018-2019 provost fellow.