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Lara Perez-Felkner

Associate Professor of Higher Education and Sociology, Florida State University

Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Sociology in the Higher Education Program within the College of Education at Florida State University. She is also an Affiliated Faculty member in the Department of Sociology, and Senior Research Associate with FSU’s Center for Postsecondary Success. Additional affiliations: Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice; Pathways to Adulthood; Network Gender and STEM; and the Joint Centers for Education Research and Population Research Center at NORC at the University of Chicago.

Her research uses developmental and sociological perspectives to examine how young people’s social contexts influence their college and career outcomes. She focuses on the mechanisms that shape entry into and persistence in institutions and fields in which they have traditionally been underrepresented. In particular, she investigates racial-ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities in post-secondary educational attainment and entry to scientific career fields.

Research has benefited from strong supporters, colleagues, and editors. Generous research support has come from the National Science Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the ECMC Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, and institutional fellowships and grants. Published work appears in journals including: Contemporary Sociology, Developmental Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Latinos and Education, Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology, Perspectives, and Teachers’ College Record, as well in several edited volumes. Her research has been covered in the U.S., Europe, and Asia in news outlets including ABC News and National Public Radio affiliates, Bustle, Hindustan Times, Motherboard (Vice News), Science News for Students, U.S. News and World Report, and USA Today. She is editing a forthcoming volume for New Directions for Institutional Research on undergraduate women in STEM.

Dr. Perez-Felkner has professional experience in university student affairs as well. At the University of Chicago, she served as a Resident Head in the College from 2006-2012 and on an NSF AGEP-supported Social Sciences Division Taskforce on Diversity for the Professoriate. Prior to graduate school, she was a post-placement counselor for grade 7-10 students with Prep for Prep, helping underrepresented students transition to magnet schools and private day and boarding college preparatory schools. While earning her B.A. at Wesleyan University, she also worked in residence life, undergraduate admissions, and student leadership. She is Co-Chair of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Collective at Florida State, and Program Coordinator for FSU’s Higher Education graduate program.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Sociology, Florida State University, Florida State University


  • 2009 
    University of Chicago, Comparative Human Development/Sociology (Ph.D.)
  • 2005 
    University of Chicago, Social Sciences (M.A.)
  • 2001 
    Wesleyan University, Psychology (B.A.)