Yu April Chen Named One of Six LSU Rainmakers for Research Excellence and Creative Activity

March 8, 2023

Yu April ChenYu April Chen, PhD, named LSU Rainmaker.

BATON ROUGE—Yu April Chen, PhD, assistant professor, is one of six LSU faculty members named a Rainmaker for Research and Creative Activity. Rainmakers are faculty members who balance their teaching and research responsibilities while extending the impact of their work to the world beyond academia.

“Dr. Chen’s research is essential to a deeper understanding of how our community colleges and four-year colleges and universities could and should work together to better serve students,” said LSU College of Human Sciences & Education Dean Roland Mitchell. “Dr. Chen’s research is an example of LSU’s Scholarship First agenda in action. Her research sheds light on STEM success among underrepresented student populations, the experience of international students, and college transfer students. She is a rising star and a true Rainmaker.”

Chen received the Rainmaker Award for the Emerging Scholar in the area of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences & Behavioral Sciences category. In partnership with Campus Federal Credit Union, the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) awards six Rainmakers each year to faculty who demonstrate outstanding research, scholarship, and creative activity for their respective rank and discipline. The award recognizes both sustained and continuing work, as well as the impact that work has had on faculty members, their department, and their respective academic community.

“Dr. Yu “April” Chen is an impressive Higher Education scholar. Her work is making a real impact in Louisiana, from her work on understanding community college students’ transition experiences to mentoring future higher education professionals,” said School of Education Interim Director Laura Choate. “The School of Education proudly recognizes Dr. Chen for her scholarship, innovation, and dedication to her students.”

Chen is an Assistant Professor in the LSU Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education. She uses both advanced quantitative and qualitative methods to study (a) community college transfer students, (b) STEM success among underrepresented student populations, and (c) the experiences of international students. Her scholarship has been published in top-tier higher education journals such as Research in Higher Education, Community College Review, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, and Journal of College Student Retention. Chen has delivered more than 40 scholarly presentations at premier national research conferences such as the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for the Studies of Higher Education (ASHE), and the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC). 

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my research in higher education, particularly in understanding the experiences of community college transfer students, underrepresented minorities in STEM, and international students. I am very grateful to my mentors and colleagues in the School of Education and beyond for their guidance and inspiration. This award will inspire me to continue producing impactful research that addresses the needs of historically underrepresented and underserved students in higher education,” said Chen.

Chen received an NSF Career Award to examine post-transfer success for minority STEM students, as well as the LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award in 2020 for her outstanding records of scholarship and published research. She currently serves as the editorial board member for the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (2021-2023).

Rainmaker criteria include but are not limited to the following: publication in a high-impact journal(s); a highly cited work; external awards; invited presentations at national and international meetings; high journal publication productivity; critically acclaimed book publication(s), performance(s), exhibit(s) or theatrical production(s); high grant productivity and for more senior candidates, outstanding citation records and high-impact invited presentations at national and international meetings.

Learn more about the LSU ORED Rainmakers.


About SOE
The LSU Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Research, and Counseling, including two completely online master’s programs. SOE offers a range of professional and academic degree programs that focus on preparing students for careers in education, research, policy formation and implementation, as well as program oversight. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. SOE is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.  Visit the School of Education at lsu.edu/education.

About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan. Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at lsu.edu/chse.



Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations

Mary P. Woods
Director of Communications