Lauren White

Lauren White

"Lift as you climb, representation matters."

College: Education
Degree Program: Higher Education
Degree: Doctorate


Awards: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2023)

Why FSU?

The FSU Higher Education doctoral program stood out to me for many reasons, but I chose to attend the program mainly based on the faculty and the program pillars (leadership, social justice, and student success). It was important for me to learn from diverse perspectives that aligned with my personal values and to see representation within the program. For me, FSU provided both. Once I had the opportunity to meet with my advisor, Dr. Cameron Beatty, I instantly felt that the program would provide not only academic and career development, but also mentorship and a support system to ultimately reach my overall goals.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I am pursuing a doctoral degree in Higher Education because I am a community-oriented person. I believe that education is a tool, and I am passionate about advocating for underrepresented students. Campuses and universities are not just places to gain knowledge, but they are places where students learn impactful skills. I want to be someone who influences communities of learning that extend outside the campus environment. My family, friends, and mentors keep me motivated to do my best and ultimately earn my degree.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

Before pursuing my doctoral degree, I worked in higher education in a role specifically focused on student success. Through this role and my own lived experience, I learned the importance of representation and sense of belonging on retention and student success. I am very interested in learning how both institutions and students are prioritizing creating a culture of belonging for BIPOC students in the post-pandemic era. Student success is closely connected to resources, and I want to continue to provide resources and remove barriers for students of color.

Career aspirations

I want to leverage my education to create solutions to shortcomings within the education system. Ideally I want to become a scholar in the field of higher education by specifically working as a college dean for a large public research institution. I hope to continue advocating and developing supportive resources for URM students to enhance their collegiate experience and increase retention and graduation rates.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Always remember your "why." Pursuing a graduate degree can easily generate imposter syndrome, but it's important to remember that your voice and your knowledge are worthy of being highlighted and shared. Also, take time to do the research. Find a program that you believe will provide you will the skills and tools for your next step along your journey.

Accomplishments during graduate career

I am a 2023 McKnight Doctoral Fellow.