Research Associate

Areas of Expertise: Access to Higher Education, Investing in Single Mothers' Higher Education, Student Parent Success Initiative

Susana Contreras-Mendez is a Research Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She provides research support to projects within IWPR’s Student Parents Success Initiative, which promotes higher education access and success for students with dependent children who are pursuing a postsecondary credential.

Prior to joining IWPR, Susana interned at Lumina Foundation supporting their work around federal postsecondary policy, and student and institutional finance. As a former Head Start child and first-generation college student, she has first-hand knowledge on the impacts of educational inequities and the benefits of a postsecondary credential.  With over six years of professional experience working both in Head Start and within institutions of higher education, Susana strives to support equitable opportunities in early and postsecondary education.

Susana holds a master’s degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Diversity and Social Justice from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor's dual degree in Sociology and American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington.