Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Thomas

Second Advisor

Genevieve Negron-Gonzales

Third Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between women’s (co)curricular student involvement in college and their career outcomes in technology startups. This study focused on the ways in which past student involvement shaped women’s future career aspirations and helped them navigate their present career situations to achieve success. The study extended Astin’s Student Involvement Theory by considering how student involvement impacted career outcomes.

The qualitative methodology incorporated nine semi-structured interviews with recent college graduates turned professional women in startups working in the San Francisco Bay Area. The interviews were transcribed and coded for themes and analyzed using textual and qualitative content analysis. While the findings were limited, the study revealed (co)curricular contributors to career aspirations included peer groups, club sports, and faculty relationships. The most powerful contributors, though not formally part of higher education itself, were parental influences and internships. Career services, with the exception of career fairs, were a non-contributor to career aspirations. As related to career navigation strategies, sorority membership, student government experience, and again, internships were important contributors to acquiring navigation skills and strategies. The participants listed general education courses as the least helpful contributor toward career navigation, although some major coursework and classes that included project or lab work, were noted as helpful.

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