Laura Bernhard

As a Senior Researcher, Laura Bernhard shapes the research agenda for California Competes with a focus on qualitative work.

Prior to joining California Competes, Laura was a Senior Researcher in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. While there, she conducted numerous studies on topics such as academic advising, study abroad, residential programs, and research experiences. She also served as the lead qualitative researcher on large-scale collaborative projects focused on senior exit interviews, the first year of college, and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to online learning. She is passionate about using data to shape decisions and centering the student in every aspect of her work.

She holds a PhD and MA in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles and a MA in Sport Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a BA in Black Studies with a minor in Athletic Coaching from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

What motivates you to advance California Competes’ Mission?

I believe that everyone should have access to a high quality and affordable education. As a native Californian and a product of the UC system, I know the value of our state’s higher education system, and I want to do what I can to make it more accessible and more equitable for more Californians.