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Aaron Arenas

Research Assistant


Aaron currently serves as a research assistant in the Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) Group primarily focused on qualitative research methods. He isĀ  a Ph.D student in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development in NC State’s College of Education, studying higher education with his primary research interests including governance and leadership, faculty retention and development, diversity in higher education, admissions practices and policies, and qualitative research methodologies. Prior to arriving at the Friday Institute, he primarily served as the graduate teaching assistant for the Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (ED 730) and the Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (ED 731) courses in NC State’s College of Education. He has also worked on various research projects that have explored trauma-informed practices among K-12 teachers, college women presidencies, academic freedom among higher education faculty, opportunities to expand student diversity and development through NSF-funded forestry programs, and international students’ access and transition to higher education opportunities.

Prior to arriving at NC State, Aaron worked for the ACCESS College Foundation in the Hampton Roads area of VA, serving as a high school advisor for two years and helping students through the college search, application and financial aid process. Aaron has also previously served as an admissions counselor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, primarily recruiting and working with prospective students from NJ, VA, NC, SC and internationally in Southeast Asia through the admissions application process.

Aaron earned his M.S.Ed in higher education from Old Dominion University in 2019 and his B.A. in psychology and government & international affairs from George Mason University in 2013.