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Full Paper The Career Identity Program: Creating a Personalized Academic-to-Career Plan for First-Year Engineering Students

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2018 FYEE Conference


Glassboro, New Jersey

Publication Date

July 24, 2018

Start Date

July 24, 2018

End Date

July 26, 2018

Conference Session

Technical Session I

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference Sessions

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Paper Authors


Chester Levern Miller Jr North Carolina State University

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Chester Miller currently serves as the Director of Living and Learning Initiatives at North Carolina State University with oversight of 16 living-learning communities serving approximately 2900 students.

Chester has a strong blend of engineering, higher education knowledge and experience. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Morgan State University and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Binghamton University. He spent seven years at IBM as a Design and Verification Engineer and has 15 years experience working in higher education supporting student retention, success, and development. Most of his years in higher education include direct and intentional relationships and connections focused on students in STEM fields. With tangible industry experience as a practicing engineer and Residence Education experience, Chester brings a unique blend of competencies and perspectives to serving students with in the First Year Engineering program at NC State University.

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Rachel Elizabeth Worsham North Carolina State University Orcid 16x16

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Rachel Worsham is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University and serves as the Graduate Assistant for the Engineering Living Learning Village. She received her Bachelor's in History and Peace, War, and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. After graduation, Rachel became a College Adviser at John Motley Morehead High School in Eden, NC as a part of the Carolina College Advising Corps. This work helped Rachel develop a passion for ensuring college access and success for first-generation, low-income and underserved students.

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Lori Nero Ghosal North Carolina State University

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Lori Nero Ghosal, Ed.D., ACC
Career Identity Coach
NC State University

Dr. Lori Nero Ghosal has more than 10 years’ experience in academia creating programming to help students build comprehensive academic and career plans. As Career Identity Coach with NC State University, she is the Career Development Center liaison to College of Engineering where she leads programs and coaches engineering students to create meaningful and authentic academic to career plans through creating self-awareness, uncovering skills, interests, and abilities and connecting them to careers.

Prior to her work with the Career Development Center, Dr. Ghosal has served as Academic Coach for TRIO programs both at NC State University and Buffalo State College, where she worked on a grant-funded program from the U.S. Department of Education to help first-generation and under-resourced students to successfully persist and graduate from college.

Before her career transition into higher education, Lori worked in private industry in educational publishing. She has more than 10 years’ experience leading research and development of new products and sales training programs in a successful start-up company. She combines her multi-dimensional experience in student services in higher education, private industry and business and career coaching with her passion for helping students, alumni, and professionals identify and achieve their chosen career path.

She has a doctorate in Higher Education Administration with a minor in Counseling from NC State University, a Master’s in Student Personnel Administration from Buffalo State College, a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Theology from St. Bonaventure University and holds the distinction of Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.

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Full Paper The Career Identity Program: Creating a Personalized Academic-to-Career Plan for First-Year Engineering Students

Many first-year engineering students have limited knowledge in determining the difference between engineering disciplines. Additionally, undeveloped career goals and lack of experience further complicates students’ ability to make informed decisions regarding major choice. Given this challenge, it is not surprising that 80% of all college students change majors before graduation1. As a result of this uncertainty, students face increased time to degree completion, additional financial burden, anxiety and doubt about major and career choices, and sometimes, failure to graduate. In response to this challenge, in 2016, a Career Development Center (CDC) developed the Career Identity Program (CIP). Collaborating with academic units, the partnership set out to help successfully navigate students toward their academic and career goals through intentionally designed workshops to challenge guide students toward personal values and passions. The goal is to reduce the number of major changes, time to degree completion and increase participant career readiness upon graduation. The CIP is a series of interconnected, activity-based workshops and guest speakers that build on each other to help students design meaningful, values-driven careers. Students also meet with their Career Identity Coach individually throughout the year for customized, intensive academic and career coaching. Coaches help students examine 1) their interests, skills, and motivations; 2) their understanding of career pathways and related majors; 3) their career-related activities and experiences, and how to maximize those experiences in becoming career ready. In 2016-2017, the CIP served 93 engineering students leading to overwhelming success and support from students and advisors for expansion. In 2017, to reach more students, the CDC launched the Career Identity Coaching Training Program providing training for 12 adviser/staff partners to support workshop offerings for student participants. This paper highlights the CIP program and its incorporation within the program curriculum of an Engineering Living-Learning Community. The Engineering Living-Learning Village (EV), a residential community comprising 400 first-year engineers, took on a leadership role in expanding the CIP to serve more Village residents. Village staff completed 15 hours of coach training by CDC and provided individual coaching for 35 Village residents and CIP participants, increasing to 123 engineering students in the second year. The addition of the CIP to the Village’s extant academic and professional development program offerings has not only increased the added value of the Village experience for students, but has also strengthened the Village’s connections with key campus partners like the CDC. Assessments are currently underway to determine the efficacy of the program within the Village and will be available upon conference presentation.

Citation 1About 80 percent of students in the U.S. change their major at least once. On average, college students change their major three times over the course of their college career. (National Center for Education Statistics, Mar 15, 2013)

Miller, C. L., & Worsham, R. E., & Ghosal, L. N. (2018, July), Full Paper The Career Identity Program: Creating a Personalized Academic-to-Career Plan for First-Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 FYEE Conference, Glassboro, New Jersey.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015