Mary Hendriksen | January 7, 2015
When a graduate student’s personal story becomes the impetus for a research interest, unique insights and a very special kind of passion can result.
That is precisely the case with Nicole Perez, a third-year doctoral student in Sociology a Joseph L. Gaia Fellow.
Nicole’s primary research interest is understanding when and why Latina/o students drop out of the educational pipeline from high school to college to graduate school. Specifically, she explores the transition from high school to college, with a focus on how Latina/o students navigate familial and peer influences in deciding where to apply and, ultimately, attend college. This past April, Nicole was awarded a highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support her research.
“Without knowing it at the time,” Nicole explains, “the inspiration for my graduate research began forming when I was making the transition myself from high school to college in Castro Valley, California. As a first-generation Latina, that transition did not happen as easily as it did for some of my peers.”