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Elise J. Cain, Ph.D. Named ACPA’s 2024 Emerging Scholar-Designee

Georgia Southern proudly announces the selection of Elise J. Cain, Ph.D. as a 2024-2026 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar–Designee. 

“Dr. Cain has relentless dedication and unmatched energy to achieve her research goals,” said Meca Williams-Johnson, Ph.D., interim co-dean of the College of Education. “We are proud of her accomplishments and the recognition she is receiving for this important work.” 

Cain will serve a two-year term. When she completes the research and scholarly leadership commitment requirements as an Emerging Scholar–Designee, she will be recognized as an Emerging Scholar at the 2026 ACPA Convention.

“As a member of ACPA since the beginning of my professional career, when the newly selected Emerging Scholars were announced and when I have attended exceptional ACPA Convention sessions led by Emerging Scholars, I have desired to become a part of this prestigious program,” said Cain, who is an assistant professor as well as the Ed.D. program director in the College of Education. “Knowing that the Senior Scholars, who are senior members of the profession who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to the field, recognized my current scholarly accomplishments and see my potential for the future is exhilarating. I am humbled to receive this honor. I am committed to conducting a proposed research project as part of the award. My project is titled A Narrative Inquiry Exploring How Rural College Students Perceive and Experience Their Rural and Other Social Identities.The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions and experiences related to identities among self-identified “rural college students.”

Cain also expressed further goals and plans of her scholarship program and how it is centered around an overarching emphasis on rural education. Inclusive within this topic are two research strands: college students from rural areas and STEM education. These two strands then splinter into four overlapping categories: place-based identities, college access and retention, rural STEM education, and historically underrepresented populations in STEM. Additionally, she will continue other current projects, such as the Elite Scholars Program funded by the NSF award that she collaborates with faculty members from Georgia Southern’s Department of Information Technology, and several NSF awards and proposals that she collaborates with faculty members from Georgia Southern’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

The Emerging Scholars Program is dedicated to providing support, encouragement and recognition to early-career professionals who are making significant contributions to the field of student affairs and higher education scholarship. These individuals are actively engaged in research initiatives aligned with the mission, interests and strategic goals of ACPA. ACPA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., at the National Center for Higher Education, stands as the preeminent comprehensive association for student affairs, committed to advancing the field and fostering a lifelong journey of learning and discovery for students.

Last updated: 2/26/2024