Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner

Associate Professor
Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner

Contact Information

Office Location
1205H Stone Building

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 major education and social/behavioral science journals including as well in several edited volumes. She serves on the editorial boards of Educational Researcher, Journal of Higher Education, and Sociology of Education, and has been supported by external funders including the National Science Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Her research has been covered on podcasts, 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 Equity, Diversity, 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 Council. She has been putting equity work into practice in research as a WT Grant Institutional Change Mid-Career Fellow, 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’s graduate courses include Sociology of Education, Higher Education Outcomes Assessment, and Student Development Theory. 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 finalist for the FSU College of Education’s Robert M. Gagne Research Award (2015, 2021, 2022), won the 2016 and 2022 Hardee Center Supervisor/Mentor Award, received the 2018-19 FSU Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, 2022 Inclusive Teaching and Advising Award, and the FSU College of Education’s 2021 Graduate Teaching Award. 

View Dr. Perez-Felkner’s website

Selected Recent Publications

Perez-Felkner, L., Ramirez Surmeier, L., & Rezaei, R. (In press). Gender and Educational Inequality. In Mark Berends, Barbara Schneider, & Stephen Lamb (Eds.), Handbook on Sociology of Education (31 pages). Sage.

Holton-Thomas, A., Perez-Felkner, L., & Portis Templeton, D. (2022). “How Do Institutional Type and Transfer Affect Contemporary College Students’ Degree Attainment?” Community College Journal of Research and Practice. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10668926.2022.2156633

Perez-Felkner, L., Gast, M. J., & Ovink, S. M. (2022). Liberating our writing: Critical narratives and systemic changes in education and the social sciences. Multicultural Perspectives, 24(3). DOI: 10.1080/15210960.2022.2127400 Free full-text for those w/out subscription access here.

Perez-Felkner, L., Baker-Smith, C., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2022) Does Rent-Free Community Housing Make a Difference in Higher Education Outcomes? Report published by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Full-text here.

Fluker, C., Perez-Felkner, L., & McCoy, K. (2022). Students’ Perceptions of an REU Summer Internship Program and their Engineering Identity Development: An Equity-Centered Analysis. American Society for Engineering Education, PEER Proceedings, Minneapolis, MN. https://strategy.asee.org/40969

Zhao, T. & Perez-Felkner, L. (2022) Perceived Abilities or Academic Interests? Longitudinal High School Science and Mathematics Effects on Postsecondary STEM Outcomes by Gender and Race. International Journal of STEM Education, 9(42), 1-26. DOI: 10.1186/s40594-022-00356-w

Perez-Felkner, L. (2022). Transforming Opportunity to Support STEM Success for All. Policy Brief published with Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) and Student Experience Research Network (SERN).

Doran, E. E., Davis, R. D., Rodriguez Vargas, L., Perez-Felkner, L., Smith, M. R., & De Leon Rodriguez, N. (2021). Student success & STEM. In V. A. Sansone & M. Hernandez (Eds.), Working beyond borders to cultivate knowledge and support for Puerto Rican colleges and universities: Post-traditional student characteristics, STEM outcomes, and financial context in Puerto Rico, (pp. 22-29). Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

Perez-Felkner, L. (2021). Affirmative Action Challenges Keep on Keeping On: Responding to Shifting Federal and State PolicyPerspectives: 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. (2020). EDITORIAL: Surpassing STEM’s Gender Limitations: Structures, Interventions, and Systems ChangeInternational Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 11(3), 357–360.

Perez-Felkner, L., Shore, C., Dickens, T., & Yang, M. D. (2020). Engineering Resilience through Research Mentorship: Manufacturing Pathways to Careers. American Society for Engineering Education, PEER Proceedings, Montreal, CA.

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 College. Teachers 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.