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CONTACT: Shouping Hu, FSU College of Education
(850) 644-6721;

October 2014

Postdoctoral Fellows, Dr. Chenoa Woods and Dr. Rebecca L. Brower

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Center for Postsecondary Success is pleased to announce the two newest members of the research team: Postdoctoral Fellows, Dr. Chenoa Woods and Dr. Rebecca L. Brower. Dr. Woods and Dr. Brower describe themselves as “excited and honored to be working alongside the respected scholars of higher education policy and finance at the CPS. It is rewarding to examine policies and make recommendations that can positively impact students’ lives.”

Dr. Chenoa Woods is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Center for Postsecondary Success. Her research examines students’ access to college preparation opportunities, choice, and participation in postsecondary education with a focus on the roles of school and school personnel in the decision-making process. Her current work includes exploring the relationships between schools’ college-going cultures, college preparation programs, and students’ college plans and enrollment. Chenoa has published in Teachers College Record and has presented her work at local, national, and international conferences. She was awarded the 2013-2014 University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity (UC/ACCORD) dissertation scholarship and the University of California, Irvine Public Impact Fellowship to support her work on exploring underrepresented students’ college choice processes.

Chenoa states that “my initial interest in research developed during my training to become a school counselor. I saw how important schools – and school counselors in particular – are in students’ college choice process. Since then, I have had an interest in exploring and understanding what school counselors do, how they impact students’ educational trajectories, and the local, state, and national policies that impact counselors’ effectiveness and student outcomes. Some of my research shows that discussions with school counselors about college are related to students’ college preparation and plans. With that in mind, the goal of much of my research is to broaden students’ access to college information and critical interactions with college knowledgeable adults to increase their chances at achieving their educational aspirations.”

Chenoa earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a master’s degree in school counseling, both from California State University, Long Beach. She earned her PhD in educational policy and social context from the University of California, Irvine in August 2014.

Dr. Rebecca Brower is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Center for Postsecondary Success. Her research focuses on diversity policies in higher education and how those policies facilitate student encounters with difference. Her work will appear in the Journal of African American Males in Education. She has presented her research at local and national conferences. Before joining the Center for Postsecondary Success, Rebecca was the lead graduate research assistant on the Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success (LIPSS) project under the direction of Dr. Bradley Cox at Florida State University. The LIPSS project sought to identify specific institution-wide policies that might be leveraged to increase college student engagement – a key predictor of student grades and persistence that is especially beneficial to Hispanic, African American, and academically under-prepared students. As a result of her work with the project, she was a finalist for the Marvalene Hughes Graduate Student Research Award.

Rebecca states, “I think what really fascinates me about diversity research is how the twin ideas of homophily and heterophily function in higher education. Homophily is a common human tendency in which people who are demographically similar prefer to interact with one another. Heterophily occurs when people who are demographically distinct interact with one another. In the higher education literature, we call heterophilous interactions ‘encounters with difference.’ Both types of interactions are associated with positive student outcomes. Homophily is associated with persistence and “fit” between an institution and a student, while heterophily is associated with increases in learning and critical thinking. My own research and that of other researchers suggests that both types of interaction can be facilitated through institutional policies.”

Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history (summa cum laude) from the State University of New York at Oswego. She has master’s degrees in Spanish and higher education administration, both from Auburn University. She earned her PhD in higher education from Florida State University in December 2013.


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