AAHHE Doctoral Student Award

The AAHHE Doctoral Student Award recognizes doctoral students who aspire to join the academy and demonstrate their academic accomplishments and servant leadership at their university.


2023 AAHHE Doctoral Student Award Recipient


Merylou Rodriguez
Associate Director of Research and Assessment for the Department of Residence Life
Rutgers University – New Brunswick


Merylou Rodriguez is a first-generation Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education Program at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Merylou proudly hails from Puerto Rican and Dominican parents. Merylou’s dissertation employs Boricua-centric methodologies to understand Puerto Rican undergraduate narratives of persistence in higher education. Given the extensive gap in the literature on Puerto Ricans in higher education, she intends to bridge the existing scholarship from K-12 to shed light on Puerto Rican college students’ unique experiences. She contends that Puerto Rican college students' educational narratives can inform this population’s current conditions and offer insights with practical and policy implications. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director of Research and Assessment in the Department of Residence Life within the Division of Student Affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Merylou has engaged in equity, justice, and access work as an undergraduate paraprofessional and continues to guide her career through this framework. Additionally, Merylou has served as an instructor on record in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies, and the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program.


List of Past Doctoral Student Award Recipients:

  • 2022 Roberto Orozco
    2021 Angel Gonzalez, MA, PhD