Teacher with three students talking on a classroom

Past Awards

Explore all the different past awards funded by the Nina B. Hollis Institute given to support research that expands the boundaries of education. 

Current Awards

Katie Baczeski, College of Arts & Sciences

Still Life with Fruit Gallery is an alternative visual art exhibition space that hosts artists from all over the United States. With openings once a month highlighting a two person or solo show, Still Life with Fruit aims to support engagement with the local community/schools by offering free admission to exhibitions. Still Life with Fruit Gallery highlights the work of artists who have previously been under-represented in the traditional spaces that the Fine Art world inhabits such as artists in the LGBTQ+ community, Black artists, Latinx artists, artists of color, non-binary artists, women, mothers, indigenous peoples of the Americas and artists with disabilities.

Jim Beasley and John Tichenor, School of Business

Our vision for this program is to enhance the Central Florida leadership community by promoting ethical awareness and action among future community and business leaders.​ ​

The need for business ethics education is demonstrated every day in the increasing impact of moral myopia and unethical business activity. Our culture is increasingly demanding more responsible business leadership that takes seriously the Prima Facie Principle that business should "do no harm." This enlightened leadership begins with the education of our future business leaders and the SEED program will help advance this need among secondary school students.​ ​

The SEED program will complement the vision of the Hollis Institute to be a "catalyst to positively impact K-12 education" in the area of leadership development. Business ethics education is an emerging area of K-12 programs. The Stetson School of Business Administration is uniquely positioned through its historic emphasis on values-based education and its stature as a leader in business ethics education and programming to extend its programming to the K-12 arena. The Stetson Business Ethics Initiative has a track record of success in ethics education and programming through its award-winning business ethics case competition teams and its sponsorship of an international business ethics case competition, the Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition.

Pamela Cappas-Toro, Andy Eisen, Melinda Hall, and Jelena Petrovic, College of Arts & Sciences

Community Education Project (CEP) was established in January 2015 by Stetson University faculty members and is currently run by Drs. Pamela Cappas-Toro, Andy Eisen, Melinda Hall, and Jelena Petrovic.

In 2017, the program was awarded Stetson’s Nina B. Hollis Research Impact Award to assess and enhance the college readiness of our 2017/2018 student cohort at Tomoka CI. Specifically, we proposed to

  1. provide 20 CEP students with semester-long noncredit-bearing preparatory courses in Mathematics and English in Fall 2017;
  2. use these courses to help students prepare for the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) and eventually credit-bearing college level courses offered through Stetson University;
  3. assess students’ current skill sets and identify areas for improvement;
  4. develop and implement multistep assessment of our instructors and provide students with resources to support their academic development;
  5. seek external funding and develop a program structure that would ensure sustainability and longevity of the program.

Among accomplishments directly supported by the grant in 2019-2020, we are particularly excited to report the completion of the CEP’s first in-house student publication “More Than Our Blues” (henceforward MTOB), completion and promotion of the public history project on slavery and Indian removal, and an expansion of our team with a data officer, an academic support specialist, and a fellow.

The support of the Hollis Impact Award funds was instrumental in these efforts by enabling us to hire and financially support our new staff as well as to cover travel expenses for invited presentations related to the public history project. Further, we were able to continue working with the editors for MTOB and utilize the funds we have carried over from AY 2018-2019 to print 300 copies of this publication.

Chris Colwell, College of Arts & Sciences

The Nina B Hollis Leadership Institute for Culturally Responsive Schools is an initiative that would heed the national outcry to address the achievement gap that persists for marginalized youth in our schools. Efforts to close the gap through rigorous standards, high-stakes testing, and academic interventions have had little effect on underperforming students. Conversely, these efforts have amplified the realization that the gap is less about aptitude than it is about equity and access. While research on school climate and culture first emerged in the 1950s, there has been an increased focus on culturally responsive pedagogy as schools have struggled to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing, multi-faceted minority population. The issue is complex as there are many factors that preclude schools from effectively meeting the needs of diverse learners. Current school initiatives react to discrete issues, such as poverty, race, culture, gender, disability, and/or language. While we have become more aware of these barriers, schools have failed to have a marked impact. Schools are now looking beyond instructional interventions and accountability testing. Equity and excellence for marginalized students is best achieved by defining inclusivity in its broadest sense to inform cultural intervention efforts in a school setting. This is a change in the vision of schools, which is best effectuated by building-level administrators who have adequate training in school climate, responsive pedagogy, and institutional marginalization. Districts have competing mandates and demands, and they will state that there are fewer resources to address social/emotional learning or develop administrative leadership. There is a strong need not just in Volusia County, but across the state and nation for strategic partnerships that increase cultural responsiveness in public education. ​ ​

The Leadership Center is now in part supported through proceeds from restorative practices workshops offered to various schools and districts.

Joshua Eckroth, College of Arts & Sciences

In the summer of 2018, we will host a cybersecurity camp as well as a new artificial intelligence camp. These camps are targeted at high school juniors, seniors, and entering college freshmen. Students learn about the theme of the camp (cybersecurity or artificial intelligence/robotics) as well as computer programming with the popular Python language. The camps are designed and taught by computer science professor Dr. Eckroth. Students that pass an optional post-assessment at the end of the camp are given instructor permission to enroll in our CSCI 141 course, skipping the pre-requisite CSCI 111 course. Scholarships will be offered to academically talented students who are underrepresented in computer science in particular or STEM in general. Women are underrepresented in computer science, earning just 18.1% of computer science bachelor’s degrees, and non-white men and women earn just 29.4% of these degrees, as of 2014 [2]. Scholarships that are awarded to high-achieving, underrepresented students have been shown to improve their retention and GPA [3]. Our proposed scholarships would allow the students who receive them to attend the camp without cost.

Ann Piccard, Stetson University College of Law

The goal of this project is primarily to help teenage foster children avoid the so-called school-to-prison pipeline, using law student volunteers as Education Partners to get or keep the teens in school, ultimately diverting them from further involvement with the legal system to higher education. The social and fiscal costs of mass incarceration are well-documented. Those costs will be reduced by interrupting the flow of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Stephen Robinson, School of Music

Instruments of Healing has established a partnership with The Homework Club (HWC), an afterschool program offered in collaboration with The House Next Door (organization that provides family education and supports programs serving children and families), and West Volusia PAL (organization that provides quality athletic and educational activities for at-risk children in the greater DeLand area). The HWC engages school age-children in a variety of social, educational, and recreational activities appropriate to their needs, interests, and abilities. Members of Instruments of Healing meet monthly on Friday afternoons with 30-40 students who are enrolled in The Homework Club at the House Next Door. Stetson musicians offer fun-filled, stimulating musical activities to these school-age children (k-grade 5/low-income and high-risk demographics), bringing them live music, performing, and singing with them, and teaching the basics of rhythm, melody and harmony with maracas, ukuleles, and guitars.​ ​

With the further development of this project, we hope to continue to create music educational opportunities that will impact children and non-traditional learners where race, familial situations, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other factors contribute to lower educational aspirations and attainments.

Sven Smith, College of Arts & Sciences

A mock trail summer camp with scholarships for marginalized children to increase Non-White Participation and Academic Success in Pre-College Law-Based Summer Camps. 

In the summer of 2021, of 22 total students, only 4 students identified themselves as non-white, non-Hispanic.  Of these 2 self-reported as Black.  These numbers are reflective of the larger problem in the United States.  White males and females are still overrepresented in law as compared to the demographic of the United States.  Of all lawyers in 2020, 86% were white and non-Hispanic but the US white, non-Hispanic resident population is right around 60%.  Further over the last 10 years the number of black attorneys has seen a slight decrease (from 4.8% in 2011 to 4.7% in 2020).  The future looks bleak in that black law school graduates pass the bar at a lower rate than whites due in part to less exposure to educational opportunities and their need for work income during law school.  Before law school even begins, black law student have $25,000 greater debt from loans and this only gets worse after law school.  Black law students are more likely than their white peers to have over $120,000 in law school debt.  These camps are designed for high school students and entering college freshmen.  Students learn about public speaking skills in general as well as how to put on and prepare for a trial in criminal or civil court.  They are taught in such a way so as to acquaint students with elements from college liberal arts course, a law school course, and normative behavior in a courtroom.

Sarah Cramer and Mercedes Tichenor, College of Arts & Sciences

The 2015 USDA Farm-to-School Census recorded 7,101 school gardens in school districts across the United States, up from 2,401 recorded in 2013. School gardens have been shown to increase physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, improve student attitudes towards school, decrease problematic behaviors or behaviors associated with attention deficit disorder, and effectively engage students of diverse backgrounds and learning styles. Despite these benefits, many traditionally prepared classroom teachers are not equipped with the skills necessary to successfully integrate garden-based learning into their pedagogy. The McInnis Garden-Based Learning Project intends to address the gap between the national enthusiasm for school gardens, and the lack of garden-based pedagogy in elementary teacher preparation programs. As a Title I school with a predominantly Hispanic student population, McInnis provides the ideal site to fulfill the Nina B. Hollis Institute’s mission of addressing systemic barriers to educational achievement in innovative ways.​

Nicole Denner, College of Arts & Sciences

Funding from the Nina B. Hollis Research Impact Award will be used to offer scholarships to low-income and underrepresented academically talented students to attend Stetson Young Scholars of H.A.T.S. (high-achieving and talented students) programming, designed to offer academic enrichment to k-12 students. Funding could be offered to attend either our summer programming or our fall or spring workshops. As stated in the Vision Statement of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform, the Institute aims to be “a catalyst to positively impact K-12 education.” We are hoping these scholarships will foster a deeper love of learning and an intellectually-engaged milieu, keeping these students deeply engaged with their education. We expect participation by low-income and under-represented populations to increase, and we hope to solidify Stetson University’s reputation as educationally-driven, open, and non-exclusive.​

Hala ElAarag, College of Arts & Sciences

AAUW Florida Tech Trek STEM, Camp for Girls

Tech Trek at Stetson University, an experiential summer camp designed to pique the interest of rising eighth-grade girls from across the state of Florida in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), will help to change girls’ lives by increasing their confidence in successfully taking science and math courses and increasing their overall interest in STEM.

Chaz Underriner and Luca Molnar, College of Arts & Sciences 

A collaborative community effort to vitalize the arts in the Spring Hill area of DeLand. ​The faculty members of the Creative Arts Anti-Racism Committee for Equity (CREA ACE) propose a multifaceted collaboration with the African American Museum of the Arts (AAMA). This collaboration will involve the revitalization of the Dr. Noble “Thin Man” Watts Amphitheater, including the creation of a collaborative public art piece and outfitting the space with sorely needed technical equipment, and the production of live events at the theater in collaboration with Stetson faculty, students, members of the AAMA, and the larger DeLand/Spring Hill community and local schools.

Nathan Wolek, College of Arts & Sciences

Young Sound Seekers is a multi-year project funded through an existing cooperative agreement between the National Park Service, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Stetson University. The goals of this project are to engage 20 youth in park-based educational experiences that teach them about scientific and creative practices for protecting natural sounds and night skies in national parks, while also fostering an awareness and appreciation of recreation opportunities in national parks. The goals of Young Sound Seekers are to:

  • Develop a curriculum that helps youth learn environmental conservation.
  • Share the natural wonders of the national parks by helping to overcome barriers to access.
  • Provide a creative platform for blind and partially sighted youth to contribute to the community in new ways.