Jennifer PocaiResearch Analyst
Jennifer Pocai is a Research Analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). In this role, she provides project management for IHEP’s Degrees When Due national research initiative, as well as research support for a variety of other projects. Before joining IHEP, Jennifer worked as an Initiative and Program Manager for Northern Virginia Community College’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate programs for 8 years. Jennifer also served on George Mason University’s Student Parent Working Group and is currently a Sponsor for Generation Hope, a nonprofit that provides wraparound supports for teen parents entering or persisting in higher education.
Jennifer holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Higher Education from George Mason University. During her undergraduate studies, Jennifer focused on underserved student populations, taking coursework in social justice and human rights. At the graduate level, her concentration was Student Services with an emphasis on diversity. Jennifer received the Dean’s Challenge Award for her master’s level research in April 2018 and an Outstanding Bachelor of Individualized Study Project in the Public Interest Award in May 2016 for her capstone project, Customizing Remedial Math for At-Risk, Adult Students. As an initiative manager at Northern Virginia Community College, the initiative Jennifer managed, Elevating Parents in College (EPIC), was nominated for a Bellwether Award in January 2018.
Jennifer is driven to remove barriers to postsecondary access and success for underserved student populations. As a stopped-out student who returned as an adult and a parent to finish college, and as someone who has worked with students at the community college, Jennifer has “witnessed first-hand the multitude of barriers facing contemporary students.” She sought out a position at IHEP because of our focus on equity and system-level change.