Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner

Associate Professor
Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner

Contact Information

Office Location
1205H Stone Building
(850) 645-8450

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: the HOPE Center for College, Community, and JusticePathways to Adulthood, and Network Gender and STEM.

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.

Published work appears in journals including About Campus, Developmental Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology, International Journal of Educational Development, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Latinos and Education, and Teachers’ College Record, as well in several edited volumes. She has over twenty-five publications to date and has been supported by external funders including the National Science Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Her research has been covered in news outlets including ABC News and National Public Radio affiliates, the Conversation, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Psychology Today, Science News for Students, and U.S. News and World Report. 

Dr. Perez-Felkner has professional experience in Student Affairs as well. At the University of Chicago, she served as a Resident Head in the College 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, admissions, and student leadership.

At FSU, she has been active in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, including service as Co-Chair of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Collective at Florida State, a member of the APLU iChange ASPIRE alliance team, and a member of the President’s Taskforce for Diversity and Inclusion. She is currently putting equity work into practice in research as a Student Experience Research Network (SERN) Mid-Career Fellow and Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, & Mixed Methodologies (ICQCM) NSF Quantitative Critical Methodologies Scholar.

Dr. Perez-Felkner teaches graduate courses in Sociology of Education, Sociology of Higher Education, Higher Education Outcomes Assessment, and Applied Education Policy Analysis. Impressed by the enthusiasm and caliber of FSU students, she has and continues to mentor and support students in collaborative research on higher education pathways to degrees and careers. She values the integration of teaching, mentoring, and research. Since joining the faculty, she received FSU’s Transformation through Teaching Award in 2014, was a 2015 and 2021 finalist for the FSU College of Education’s Robert M. Gagne Research Award, won the 2016 Hardee Center Supervisor/Mentor Award, received the 2018-19 FSU Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, and won the FSU College of Education’s 2021 Graduate Teaching Award. 

View Dr. Perez-Felkner’s website

Office Phone: (850) 645-8450

Selected Recent Publications

Perez-Felkner, L. (2021). Affirmative Action Challenges Keep on Keeping On: Responding to Shifting Federal and State Policy. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 25(1), 19-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603108.2018.1529639. See also public communication article in The Conversation, republished by various news outlets.

Perez-Felkner, L., Ford, J., Zhao, T., Anthony, M, Harrison, J., & Rahming, S. (2020) “Basic Needs Insecurity Among Doctoral Students: What It Looks Like and How to Address It.” About Campus, January/February 2020, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086482219899649

Perez-Felkner, L., Felkner, J., Nix, S., & Magalhães, M. (2020). The Puzzling Relationship between International Development and Gender Equity: The Case of STEM Postsecondary Education in Cambodia. International Journal of Educational Development. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2019.102102

Nix, S., & Perez-Felkner, L. (2019). Difficulty orientations, gender, and race/ethnicity: An intersectional analysis of pathways to STEM degreesSocial Sciences, 8(2), 1-29. doi: 10.3390/socsci8020043. See also video abstract: https://youtu.be/w-2QEoJjKDE

Perez-Felkner, L., Thomas, K., Nix, S., Hopkins, J., & D’Sa, M. (2019). Are 2-Year Colleges the Key? Institutional Variation and the Gender Gap in Undergraduate STEM Degrees. Journal of Higher Education. 90(2), 181-209. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2018.1486641

Perez-Felkner, L., Gaston Gayles, J. (Eds.) (2018).  Special Issue: Advancing Higher Education Research on Undergraduate Women in STEMNew Directions for Institutional Research, vol. 179, pp. 1-137.

Perez-Felkner, L. (2018). Conceptualizing the field: Higher education research on the STEM gender gap. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2018(179): 11-26. doi: 10.1002/ir.20273

Šaras, E., Perez-Felkner, L., & Nix, S. (2018).  Warming the Chill: Insights for Institutions and Researchers to Keep Women in STEMNew Directions for Institutional Research, 2018(179): 115-137. doi:10.1002/ir.20278

Šaras, E. & Perez-Felkner, L. (2018) “Sociological Perspectives on Socialization.” Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0155

Orozco, R. & Perez-Felkner, L. (2018). Ni De Aquí, Ni De Allá: Conceptualizing the Self-Authorship Experience of Gay Latino College Men Using ConocimientoJournal of Latinos and Education. 17:4, 386-394. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15348431.2017.1371018

Milesi, C., Perez-Felkner, L., Brown, K, & Schneider, B. (2017). Engagement, Persistence, and Gender in Computer Science: Results of a Smartphone ESM Study. Frontiers in Psychology. 8:602. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00602

Perez-Felkner, L., Nix, S., & Thomas, K. (2017). Gendered Pathways: How Mathematics Ability Beliefs Shape Secondary and Postsecondary Course and Degree Field ChoicesFrontiers in Psychology, 8(386). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00386 See related press.

Perez-Felkner, L. (2015). Perceptions and Resilience in Underrepresented Students’ Pathways to CollegeTeachers College Record, 117(8), 1-60. Full text available here, with TCR reprint rights.

Schneider, B., Milesi, C., Perez-Felkner, L., Brown, K., & Gutin, I. (2015). Does the gender gap in STEM majors vary by field and institutional selectivity? Teachers College Record. See the associated poster.