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In December 2014 Michael E. Rutledge, II graduated with his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Curriculum and Instruction and shortly after joined the FSU staff in November 2014 as a Learning Specialist. On October 6, 2014, Michael successfully defended his dissertation. His dissertation focused on African American student athletes and motivational factors that lead to graduate school.

Prior to joining Florida State Rutledge worked with Texas A&M Athletics as a tutor and learning assistant, Michael worked extensively with SEC and Big 12 student-athletes. He provided student athletes with comprehensive academic support including supervising study hall and academic labs, monitoring student athlete progress, as well as collaborating with faculty and staff to ensure academic achievement.

Working for Higher Education & Learning Professionals Consulting, Inc. (HELP) gave him experience with advising and mentoring diverse student populations at Texas A&M University. He also advised and mentored students from diverse backgrounds on course management, study and college preparation, career counseling and institutional guidance