Laura W. Perna is James S. Riepe Professor and Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Her research uses varied methodological approaches to identify how social structures, educational practices, and public policies promote and limit college access and success, particularly for groups that continue to be underrepresented in higher education. Her research has been published in books and monographs, as well as articles in such journals as American Educational Research Journal, Educational Policy, Educational Researcher, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and Teachers College Record. She has served on the editorial boards of leading journals in the field, as well as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Vice President of the Postsecondary Division of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and chair of Penn’s Faculty Senate. She is a Fellow of the American Education Research Association, and recipient of Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania, Early Career Achievement Award from ASHE, Excellence in Public Policy in Higher Education Award from ASHE’s Council on Public Policy and Higher Education, the Dr. Constance Clayton Education Award from the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable, and the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. In 2019 she was elected to the National Academy of Education.