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James Holly, Jr.

Dr. James Holly, Jr. (please say the 'Jr.') is a native Detroiter who pursued a doctoral degree as an intentional career pathway transition into full-time youth development, hoping to study how to use research and scholarship for the benefit of educators in urban settings. His dissertation focused on studying and implementing sociopolitical teaching when instructing black boys in Engineering, which requires an awareness of the issues they face in life and how that interacts with the learning context and subject content. He highlighted factors that contribute to un/successful teaching of black boys, and the benefits of same-race, same-gender teachers when working with black boys. His doctoral study was unique as it trained the boys to think like an Engineer, not necessarily to become an Engineer; thereby developing transcendent critical thinking skills relevant for any career pathway or aspect of life (e.g., finances, relationships, athletics).

As a proud member of the Warrior community, Dr. Holly participates in the formation of critically conscious STEM educators that effectively utilize and support the assets of urban non-white students. His research explores the complexities of teaching the STEM disciplines in an urban context in pursuit of equity and justice, and the process of preparing educators to teach the STEM disciplines in an integrated manner. His personal mission is to invest in the prosperity of black and urban youth, by helping young people develop their physical, mental, and spiritual capacities so that they may become mature individuals and active members of society. With a keen awareness of the debilitating effect of systemic racism on the lives of black Americans, Dr. Holly advances his mission through designing educational experiences that stimulate young people’s intellectual growth, cultural competence, and sociopolitical consciousness.