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About Dr. Patterson
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Staff Biographies
FDPRI utilizes a network of consultants and partnerships to expand its overall staff capacity.

Brian K. Bridges, Ph.D.
As executive director of the Patterson Research Institute, Dr. Brian Bridges serves as UNCF's chief research officer, the principal editor and contributor for its publications, and the manager of internal and external projects involving evaluation and assessment. In addition, Brian leads the organization's efforts to design, conduct, and disseminate applied research that helps to improve the educational opportunities and outcomes of African American students from pre‐school through college graduation. He has a deep knowledge of the national postsecondary educational landscape and brings nearly 20 years of experience working in higher education. He comes to UNCF from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where, as Vice Provost for Diversity, Access and Equity, he was responsible for overseeing the university’s diversity initiatives.

Prior to joining Ohio University, he held various policy and research roles at the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). At ACE, Brian served as the Associate Director for the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) where he
assisted in developing and implementing a national association effort aimed at increasing racial and gender diversity in higher education. While at NSSE, Brian managed a million‐dollar subcontract for the
Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students (BEAMS) project, a national initiative funded by the Lumina Foundation to assist Minority‐Serving Institutions’ use of NSSE results for institutional improvement. In addition, he’s served on numerous panels and advisory committees on issues related to HBCUs, learning environments at minority‐serving institutions and motivation in African American college students at predominately white institutions.

Janet T. Awokoya, Ph.D
Dr. Janet Awokoya is a Senior Research Associate of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF. In this role, she conducts research on the effectiveness of programs and initiatives at historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, UNCF’s scholarship and internship programs, and policy-related issues of relevance to UNCF’s mission. She also works as an independent consultant to various school systems and non-profit organizations where she provides training on the migration patterns and adjustment experiences of African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining FDPRI, Dr. Awokoya taught at the University of Maryland and spearheaded research symposia and conferences in the College of Education on issues related to teacher professional development and African American and Latino education. She has written and conducted presentations to national and international audiences on issues of education, immigration, identity, and culture among contemporary immigrants and minority populations. Dr. Awokoya earned both her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and her master’s degree in International Education at the University of Maryland College Park. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

David Richards, Ph.D.
Dr. David Richards is a Senior Research Associate at the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF, where he brings quantitative and methodological skills to bear on the institute’s research program. His responsibilities include collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting research on historically black colleges and universities and comparable institutions, the academic and educational success and opportunities of African American and other minority student populations, the effectiveness of UNCF programs and interventions, and the predictors of these outcomes, in the interest of informing institutional strategies and public policy. Dr. Richards earned his B.S. in psychology at the University of South Florida, and both his Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology at the University of Florida, where his social psychological research focused on issues related to stereotyping, prejudice, and stigma. His undergraduate and graduate years of psychological study involved extensive experience conducting research and analyses, and he has presented and authored findings in research reports on such topics as intergroup emotions, associative stigma, and the links between prejudice and attitudes toward public policy.

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