California State University, Sacramento

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Researcher of the Month: Dr. Rachael C. Marshall

What’s the topic of your research?

First Generation College Students, Career Development and Mindset. I am currently working on a quantitative study that aims to explore the the impact mindset has on career development of first generation college students through correlational survey research. My Faculty Fellow is Nayeli Rocio Chaidez, and we have organized a research team comprised on seven Counselor Education Students with both personal and professional experiences relating to first generation college students. We have also been invited to present at the National Career Development Association Conference (NCDA) in 2020. Research Team Members: Molly Schuller, Jessica Barkley, Aboud Hammour, Johathan Tadeo Lopez I, Pattie Moreno, Panhoia Lee, and Stephanie Gomez.

Why is your research important?

Despite the increasing number of the First Generation College students, their degree attainment still remains low. Specifically, there is evidence of discrimination and representation in institutions of higher education and careers related to higher degrees; affecting students’ self- efficacy and outcome expectations (Gibbons & Borders, 2010). Mindset has been shown to be a relevant theoretical framework for examining first-generation college students and their academic and career expectations as it considers their context and environment (Broda, et al., 2018). The more barriers a student perceives the less likely they are to pursue areas that have barriers including college completion. Growth mindset encourages experimenting with new behaviors and strategies, but a fixed mindset views experimentation as risk for failure (Dweck, 2006). The experiences of First Generation College Students (FGCS) is important as we consider working towards empowered and inclusive career development.

What are the implications for educators, professionals and/or other broader community?

First generation college students (FGCS) are underrepresented in higher education and are 71% more likely to leave college in their first year. FGCS face specific challenges to their career development. We explore ethical practices implementing mindset as a relevant framework to address social and cultural discrimination when counseling FGCS. This research will impact career counseling practice, advising, teaching, higher education program and policy. The overarching goals are to find empirically based interventions and strategies that will help FGCS move through college and find success.

Meagan O'Malley

Researcher of the Month

View Dr. Marshall's Webpage