Career development, stem, career thoughts, career decidedness, vocational maturity


According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), innovation that accompanies careers in science, technology engineering, and math (STEM) create a driving force in the economy and the creation of jobs, yet many positions remain open due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill them (NAS, 2011). Continuing research and innovation proves to be important, yet not enough students graduate with STEM degrees and enter into STEM careers. Career planning courses for undergraduate students increase student confidence about their abilities to make career decisions (Grier-Reed & Skaar, 2010: Scott & Ciani 2008). Vocational maturity and career decision making skills also improve as a result of these courses (Reese & Miller, 2006; Scott & Ciani, 2008). Although research provides evidence of the impact of career planning courses that are specific to certain disciplines (Heffner, Macera & Cohen, 2006), the need for research exists on examining the role career planning courses have in STEM recruitment and retention. This study aimed to investigate the influence of career development intervention in STEM recruitment and retention efforts by examining career decidedness, career thoughts and vocational maturity. Furthermore, the influence of the class was examined by using demographics such as gender, ethnicity, SAT scores, and algebra math placements scores. The Career Development Inventory (CDI) and Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) provided measures of career thoughts, career decidedness and vocational maturity for this study. The results provided clarity as to the influence of the career planning course. Vocational maturity and career decidedness increase by the end of the career planning course and negative career thoughts decreased. Implications of the findings include counselor education, career development, practice and future research. In a time when billions of dollars are spent on STEM initiative, the iv current study provided an economically viable career development STEM initiative. The research reveals millions are dollars invested into updating lab equipment, purchasing new materials for students, and training teachers. The current study utilized a career planning course allowing students to explore their likes, dislikes, and abilities and how the aforementioned are connected to career interests. This study also provides insight into how the STEM effort can more specifically recruit students who will excel in STEM disciplines.


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Graduation Date





Daire, Andrew


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education








Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance, Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic