James Holly Jr

James Holly, Jr., Ph.D. Student

Former Minority Engineering Program Graduate Assistant


James Holly, Jr., Ph.D. student, arrived at Purdue University during the Fall 2014 semester in the Engineering Education Department after earning a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University. He received his B.S., also in Mechanical Engineering, from Tuskegee University.

James started his collaboration with the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) as a part-time Graduate Assistant during the Spring 2015 semester. He became acquainted with MEP early on in his adjustment to Purdue, getting involved with multiple activities regarding the outreach and recruitment aspects of MEP. Specifically, he participated in the MEP Ambassadors program and various collaborative activities between MEP and FACElab (Purdue's research lab focused on diversity within K-12 Engineering Education). 

He has experience working with Michigan State University’s Diversity Programs Office (DPO), as well as their College of Engineering’s Office for Recruitment and K-12 Outreach. He’s served as Program Coordinator and Chaperone for K-12 summer engineering programs held at Michigan State, along with working as an Academic Coach for undergraduate students in the Charles Drew Science Scholars Program. Additionally, James has participated as a graduate student facilitator for the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).

James is from Detroit, Michigan, and his research interest is exploring formal and informal K-12 engineering education learning contexts. Specifically, he is interested in how the engineering design process can be used to emphasize the humanistic side of engineering and investigating how engineering habits of mind can enhance pre-college students’ learning abilities. During his time in East Lansing, James facilitated Lego Robotics courses for elementary students at the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing, and worked for the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC) helping middle-school students improve their mathematical skills. These experiences developed James’ ability to interact academically with pre-college students, and strengthened his desire to foster in-school learning that leads to out-of-school success.




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