Exploring Proximal Influences on the Academic and Research Career Choices of African American Female Graduate Students Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Charles, Roy
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The United States is rapidly being comprised of a more diverse population. Therefore, it is critical that we better understand the academic experiences and career decision-making processes of members of underrepresented groups in fields that lead to research careers in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. For this study, a conceptual framework that drew on academic persistence in higher education and Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) literature was used in conjunction with a qualitative form of inquiry known as the Framework method. A brief survey and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data on the perceptions of African-American, female graduate students across seven potential proximal influences to their career decision-making process and gauge their interest for entering research careers. The findings of this study indicate that the study participants were influenced most by proximal influences (i.e., faculty) associated with their academic and professional development, but not necessarily from within their academic program, when it came to determining their interest in research careers. However, external proximal influences (i.e., family, peers, external community) acted as sources of support, and an escape from the academic environment, which played an important role in their continued academic persistence.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Ashby, Valerie
  • Richards Davis, Cassandra
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Hughes, Sherick
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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