Meet Shawn Holmes

Shawn Holmes
Shawn Holmes














Shawn Holmes is no stranger to graduate school, but her path to NC State has been a winding one. She earned her doctorate in Dental Science from Temple University and was a practicing dentist for 10 years in Philadelphia. During that time, she also served on the University Faculty/Staff board and worked as a supervising dentist at a nearby hygiene school. Eventually, it was those experiences that led her to realize that “what I need to be doing is teaching.”

From there, she earned a Masters in Multicultural Education at Eastern University in Pennsylvania and taught high school biology in Philadelphia, PA, and Long Beach, CA. She loved teaching and enjoyed relating her research background and work experience to her students. However, Holmes eventually decided that she was not suited to the restrictive environment of the public school system.

She describes her current pursuit of a Doctorate in Science Education at NC State as a balanced blend of education and science. The program requires a core of graduate coursework in a science discipline with the rest of the coursework coming from the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Her previous experience in graduate school has given her the confidence to squeeze in her final five graduate school courses into the spring semester. Holmes has planned the next academic year for completing her study and dissertation.

Holmes’ research will involve measuring the ethical sensitivity of student teachers to racial and gender intolerant behavior. There is a pre-existing instrument for this study that is video based, but she will be using a gaming environment because of its greater immersive ability.  She has experience with computer simulations from her work with Dr. Len Annetta and Prof. Michael Young on the Hi-Fives program. This innovative concept uses the Half-Life engine to design games with an educational bent. The interface allows teachers without programming experience to create computer simulations for everything from the underwater world to solving mysteries by studying chemical properties.

Like many graduate students, Holmes’s spare time is quite rare. However, one reason that she and her husband chose to live in Raleigh was the greenways -- and they make sure to take out their bikes and ride whenever they can. Another thing that Holmes says helps her to keep sane is “reading just a little bit of a fiction book, perhaps as little as 2-3 pages.” It may not be much, but she says it helps her to “feel like I’m alright.” After all, what are a few more pages after the reading for five graduate classes?