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Two ELPS Students Receive Highly Competitive Fellowships

**Correction-Misti Jeffers is currently a student at Brandis University and will join the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program in August, 2020.

Two students from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have received highly competitive fellowships from the ECMC Foundation which works to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds through the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at North Carolina State University.  The ECMC Foundation only awarded 20 fellowships across the nation.  These fellowships focus on research to enhance and strengthen postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) and to improve student success.

Gresham Collom is a PhD student and dissertation research fellow with the Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC) in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.  “Gresham, is a talented and productive researcher,” said Jimmy Cheek, Chancellor Emeritus and director of the PERC. “This fellowship supports his research on the impact of Tennessee Reconnect on degree attainment and workforce outcomes.” Collom is sponsored by Patrick Biddix, professor and program coordinator for the Higher Education Administration program in ELPS.

Misti Jeffers is a postdoctoral research fellow and PhD student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandis University and is sponsored by Dorian McCoy, associate professor and associate department head in ELPS.  McCoy said, “I am excited that Misti will join us as a post-doctoral fellow next year.  Her research is meaningful and addresses educational and career access, and social mobility.  Grounded in a social justice approach, her work will advance educational and career opportunities for people from rural Appalachian communities.” Jeffers’ fellowship supports her research in understanding the underlying mechanisms determining pathways to sustainable careers while emphasizing the multiple dimensions of equity in economic mobility strategies and ways to close those gaps.

Within the Postsecondary CTE Research Fellows Program, these two fellows will be part of a year-long fellowship experience with a community of eighteen recipients from across the US that participates in two national research training institutes, research methods webinars, work with CTE mentors, and conduct postsecondary CTE research.  The program is a part of the ECMC Foundation CTE Leadership Collaborative, a three-year $2 million-dollar grant established in 2018.