Dr. Sharolyn Pollard-Durodola earned an Ed.D., M.A.T., M.S., and B.A. She is a professor in the English Language Learning Program at UNLV. Dr. Pollard-Durodola has served as the coordinator for the program since Fall 2019.
Dr. Pollard-Durodola explained her research focus as “how to effectively support native and second language development (Spanish/of English) of multilingual learners in varied U.S. bilingual education and mainstream English medium settings.” Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Education, some of the areas of focus Dr. Pollard-Durodola’s research has examined:
- the effectiveness of early language/literacy interventions in Spanish (native tongue) and English (second language),
- the cross-linguistic transfer of early literacy skills,
- the effectiveness of multidimensional professional development approaches in expanding teachers’ ability to integrate second language development opportunities during content teaching (e.g., mathematics, literacy), and
- how school based and parent-led shared book reading vocabulary practices can stimulate children’s oral language and conceptual knowledge development.
Dr. Pollard-Durodola’s research has focused on targeting the needs of children whose language and literacy abilities were still developing as well as the instructional practices of their teachers, which may be influenced by complex belief systems (e.g., beliefs about multilingualism, self-efficacy). “My research includes mentoring scholars from Asia and Southeast Asia whose research is related to these topics (e.g., reading in a logographic language, multilingualism in Indian International Baccalaureate schools, Chinese students’ experiences with U.S. racism),” Dr. Pollard-Durodola said.
Dr. Pollard-Durodola believes that the Holmes Scholars program is important because it allows doctoral students to develop networks with peers from across the U.S. who have similar research interests and professional aspirations. “The program is valuable because it provides mentoring for doctoral students who identify as racially and ethnically diverse and serves as a bridge between their current doctoral experiences and the professoriate,” she said.
Discussing the scholars’ attainments attributable to the program, Dr. Pollard-Durodola explained, “I expect students to be able to present their research at a professional conference, receive support and professional development opportunities as a doctoral student, grow in their confidence and abilities as an emerging scholar, and to begin to think about how to build skills that are important for the professoriate.”
Sharing her advice to future Holmes Scholars, Dr. Pollard-Durodola encouraged students to explore the many opportunities that are provided nationally for students to diversify their involvement—for example, Washington policy experience, seeking a position on the Holmes Council, etc. And in preparation for the cooperative nature of the research and learning processes, she believes future scholars should seek ways to collaborate with other students within the Holmes organization. “To make the most of their experience, I would advise scholars to establish clear goals for how they can use the experiences to grow professionally and personally,” Dr. Pollard-Durodola said.