Vanessa Holmes began working with ASC as a graduate student intern at the start of the Fall 2020 semester. She holds a PhD in Higher Education and recently enrolled in a second Master’s degree at U-M where her work will focus on student access and success in higher education. Holmes decided to work towards her second master’s degree in order to revisit the work she conducted during her previous research, and also to add to her already established skillset. As part of her Master’s work at U-M, she is working with ASC, specifically with the UMAPS program and its alumni. Holmes said that she was attracted to working with the center because of its “focus on globalism” and its commitment to collaboration between scholars and institutions. 

Also as part of her MA program at U-M, Holmes participates in the MROP (Masters Research Opportunity Project), which enables her to build on her previous research and benefits from her own teaching background. The project focuses on students taking STEM courses on-line and seeks to understand how to increase student engagement. Holmes’ research on educational access is central to these questions in the context of a pandemic that necessitates online learning, as it seeks to elucidate how online learning can benefit students who have unequal access to it.

In addition to her MROP research, Holmes is also affiliated with ASC, where she works with UMAPS alumni by tracking their ongoing progress. In addition to documenting new publications, promotions, and other accomplishments on the basis of the yearly request for UMAPS alumni CVs, she is designing a survey that aims to reach out to both alumni as well as the U-M faculty who acted as their hosts and mentors. Commenting on the UMAPS program, Holmes said she thinks that “UMAPS is a wonderful program as it gives scholars the opportunity to experience all that the University of Michigan has to offer. Not only does the program benefit the individual scholar and their home institutions, but it benefits U-M too, allowing students, staff, and faculty to engage with African scholars.”