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avatar for Jennifer Ribble

Jennifer Ribble

Western Michigan University
PhD Candidate
Kalamazoo, MI
jennifer.m.ribble@wmich.edu

My primary research interests involve students understanding of career options available to them as well as their perceptions of what those career options look like on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, I am interested in examining how those perceptions are developed. More specifically, I am interested in addressing the unequal distribution of career-related resources for various students in a discipline in an effort to create a more equitable playing field for students interested in pursuing STEM degrees.

POSTER TITLE: Undergraduate Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors' Perception of Careers in Chemistry

POSTER ABSTRACT: With recently increased emphasis on recruitment and retention in STEM fields (Chen, 2013; President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012) and a link between student decisions on major and career (Negru-Subtirica & Pop, 2018; Negru-Subtirica, Pop, & Crocetti, 2018), it is essential to have a clear picture of student perceptions of chemistry career options available to them. In this study, qualitative methodology was utilized to gather experiences of undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors’ perceptions of what careers were available to them upon graduation and what those career options were like. Six senior-status chemistry or biochemistry majors participated in interviews to gather their career-related experiences. Researchers utilized emergent coding techniques to develop themes from the interview data. Using narrative inquiry and case study frameworks, narratives were assembled for each participant. Those narratives were treated as case studies that were analyzed both on their own and compared to one another. The participants revealed that they were unable to identify many careers available in chemistry and had many uncertainties about the day-to-day activities of those careers. Also emerging from the data was that career resources were not distributed equally among participants. While this study was carried out in a chemistry department, a similar mystery likely exists in other careers in STEM fields. These careers are generally not as accessible to students as careers that they regularly come in contact with. As such, the findings of this study can easily be applied to other STEM fields.
Monday, March 1
 

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Tuesday, March 2
 

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Wednesday, March 3
 

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