Fulbright Winner to Explore Passion for Inclusive Learning in Colombia

Recent graduate QuiAnne’ Holmes has a unique perspective on education.

After double-majoring in psychology and Spanish languages and literatures, Holmes has developed a passion for promoting equity in the classroom.

QuiAnne' Holmes in cap and gown
Recent grad QuiAnne’ Holmes is headed to Colombia, where she’ll teach Spanish as part of a Fulbright teaching assistantship.

“It’s very important to me that students from underrepresented backgrounds receive the same opportunities to have a valuable education, including Hispanic students who may face language barriers,” Holmes said. “These two majors have helped me find my true passion — ensuring that higher education curricula are structured in ways that promote inclusive learning.”

Holmes, who graduated in May, will explore that idea further when she starts a Fulbright teaching assistantship in Colombia later this year. One of five NC State students to earn Fulbright grants this year, Holmes will spend 10-12 months teaching English to students at la Universidad Autonoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia.

Holmes began her career at NC State as a psychology major interested in mental health. Studying Spanish carried over from classes she took in high school. And while she initially planned to only minor in the foreign language, she realized that adding a Spanish degree would pair well with psychology.

“With those two degrees, I wanted to be a bilingual psychologist,” Holmes said.

Outside the classroom, Holmes served as a University Scholar and the president of the Multicultural Student Affairs office’s Peer Mentor Program. She also wrote for the Nubian Message and represented the senior class on the Afrikan American Student Advisory Council.

She heard about the Fulbright program from Maurita Harris, a recipient of the prestigious award in 2015 and one of Holmes’ former colleagues. Harris (psychology ‘15), who minored in German language and literature, spent her Fulbright researching German Sign Language in Berlin.

“I was inspired by her journey,” Holmes said.

The application process was “tedious,” Holmes said. However, she found the university’s Fellowship Advising Office to be very helpful throughout the process: sending reminders, editing essays and providing constructive criticism.

After her time overseas, Holmes said she plans to enroll in Clemson University’s counseling education program for higher education.  

Two other NC State students with Humanities and Social Sciences minors received Fulbrights this year:

  • Alex Starnes, a recent graduate in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in Spanish, will serve as a teaching assistant in Spain. He has completed internships at Boeing and Eastman Chemical, served as president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and is active in Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honors fraternity.
  • Kyle Virgil, a recent graduate in chemistry with minors in philosophy and biology, will conduct a research project titled “Solar Fuel Production through Catalytic Carbon Dioxide Reduction” at Uppsala University in Sweden. He is a member of the University Scholars Program, a scholar in the Initiative for Maximizing Diversity program, president of the Society of Multicultural Scientists and student ambassador in the College of Sciences. He has presented his research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and is the second author on a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

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