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Clayton State’s Hollowell returning to China

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Mary Hollowell, Clayton State University’s Associate Professor of Education, will return to the People’s Republic of China, as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. She poses with her daughters Sophie Mei, who was adopted in a previous visit to China, and Kate, and her husband Scott Hollowell.

Special photo Mary Hollowell, Clayton State University’s Associate Professor of Education, will return to the People’s Republic of China, as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. She poses with her daughters Sophie Mei, who was adopted in a previous visit to China, and Kate, and her husband Scott Hollowell.

Mary Hollowell, Clayton State University’s Associate Professor of Education, will return to the People’s Republic of China, as the university’s first recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

John Shiffert, director of university relations, said that Hollowell’s grant, a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship, is for the spring and summer of 2013. She will teach American Educational Policy and American Children’s Literature in English to Chinese college students at a location that is still to be determined.

Hollowell’s award comes from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB), the presidentially appointed 12-member board that is responsible for establishing worldwide policies for the Fulbright Program and for selection of Fulbright recipients.

“Hollowell’s grant is made possible through funds that are appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress and, in many cases, by contributions from partner countries and/or the private sector,” Shiffert said.

“Clayton State faculty members have previously earned a half-dozen short-term Fulbright-Hays Grants, but this is the University’s first Fulbright Teaching Scholarship,” said Shiffert.

“The U.S. Department of State describes the Fulbright program as the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States Government,” added Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. Hynes. “Professor Hollowell’s award recognizes her contributions as teacher and scholar, and brings praise for her and Clayton State University. We are honored that she is our colleague.”

In his recommendation for Hollowell's Fulbright, Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Clayton State, said Hollowell’s work is excellent and stands neck-to-neck with her peers. “She has taught various education courses with distinction and provided excellent service and leadership for the Department of Teacher Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and Clayton State University as a whole,” said Momayezi. “She is a top-notch teacher, researcher and superb colleague who is admired by faculty, staff, and students. Dr. Hollowell will no doubt be an excellent ambassador of and wonderful addition to your internationally recognized program.”

Hollowell’s fellow co-workers said she is also a “well-known and respected children’s advocate.” Shiffert said Hollowell published “The Forgotten Room,” a book covering ethnographic case study of a public alternative school which highlights solitary confinement, in 2009.

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Special photo Mary Hollowell, Clayton State University’s Associate Professor of Education, published “The Forgotten Room,” a book covering ethnographic case study of a public alternative school which highlights solitary confinement, in 2009.

“ ‘The Forgotten Room’ is a unique and somber story of students on parole, and it reveals what happens to them and their hard-working teachers when they are put in crumbling school buildings and overcrowded conditions,” said Hollowell. “It’s dark and gritty. I saw students threaten and assault teachers. ... We had lockdowns, SWAT team visits, gang fighting, drug dealing, and students on rampages, but we also had oases of peace in the classrooms of exemplary teachers.”

“Following the publication of ‘The Forgotten Room,’ Hollowell became an advocate against solitary confinement cells in public schools,” Shiffert said. “Her efforts, along with those of other child advocates, led the Georgia Department of Education to ban the practice of school seclusion on July 8, 2010.” 

Shiffert added Hollowell is a former public school science teacher and museum director of education, and a member of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. He said she was awarded the 2010 Equity & Social Justice Advocacy Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), on a nomination by fellow Clayton State faculty member, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Dr. Mari Roberts.

Shiffert said Hollowell’s daughters, Kate and Sophie Mei, and her husband, Scott Hollowell, will travel with her to China. It is a return because the Hollowells previously journeyed to China to adopt Sophie Mei.

“In essence, we’ll be an ambassador family,” said Hollowell.