This case study intended to collect and analyze responses from stakeholders of the UCF Modeling and Simulation graduate program regarding the ways in which interdisciplinary (IDS) science PhD students could be prepared for diverse career paths. A mixed methodology study was executed and quantitative survey (N=96) and qualitative interview (N=10) data were collected to address three research questions. Overall, stakeholders for this case study were found to represent the three main career paths of academia, government, and industry. Survey data were utilized to gauge the level of importance that survey participants perceived for various survey scales and items. The scales that were rated with the highest means were Ethics, Teamwork, and Career Management (M=3.67, SD=.41) and Interdisciplinary Skills (M=3.67, SD=.36), while the lowest mean was reported for the Professional Science Skills scale (M=3.19, SD=.54). Interview data revealed limitations of the historically accepted apprenticeship model to include an emphasis on academia-only career preparation and a lack of standardization regarding highly individualized advisor-student relationships. And finally, survey and interview participants reported that alternative pedagogical methods to prepare IDS science PhD students for diverse career paths should include internships in each career sector, while also presenting the barriers to implementing internships regarding faculty commitments and time available to advise and help students procure such relationships. Study recommendations point to preparing IDS science PhD graduates for diverse career paths by emphasizing math, technical, communication, and interdisciplinary skills using experiential learning opportunities such as internships and an IDS project-based curriculum.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Gordon, Sabrina, "Career Preparation for Interdisciplinary Science PhD Students: A Case Study" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6055.