We have documented the combination of financial and time constraints (personal and governmental such as unemployment or financial aid) can make committing to more than 1 year of post-secondary studies incredibly challenging for lower-income, first generation individuals. One published paper focused on low-income urban adolescents who were active in their community organizations and the important role of their college-student possible selves when understanding their engagement in academic strategy use. We also published a paper in the Journal of Career Development that illustrated via multiple case study the re-negotiations of career goals (e.g., from drafter to engineer) and educational pathways (e.g., from a one-year certificate to a four-year college degree) of working class adults in STEM fields, as well as a paper in the Journal of Adult Development that documented the important role of the past selves in college and career domains in understanding the return to college for adult learners. We also recently published a paper in Mentoring & Tutoring documenting the relationship between the context of mentoring and the functions of mentoring such that low-income urban youth that draw from mentoring across contexts are more likely to report both emotional and instrumental functions of mentoring, the latter being so important for college-going and career development. We have other findings regarding the workplace policies that make it more challenging and possible for employees who are trying to go to school while working with aid from their companies, and how one company is working to change the academic science curriculum of health science students in a low-income community, both in process of finding appropriate publication outlets. Ultimately, my student research team and I are working to document the complexity of these pathways taken by lower-income individuals toward STEM degrees and careers, the role of the workplace, higher education institutions, and governmental policies, and the ways in which mentoring and other supports can facilitate their success.
Packard, B. W., Kim, G. J.*, Sicley, M.*, & Piontkowski, S.* (2009). Composition matters: Multi-context informal mentoring networks for low-income urban adolescent girls pursuing healthcare careers. Mentoring & Tutoring, 17(2), 187-200.
Packard, B. W., & Babineau, M. E.* (2009). From drafter to engineer, doctor to nurse: An examination of career compromise as renegotiated by working class adults over time. Journal of Career Development, 35(3), 207-227.
Vick, R. M.*, & Packard, B. W. (2008). Academic success strategy use among community-active urban Hispanic adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30 (4), 463-480.
Babineau, M. E.*, & Packard, B. W. (2006). The Pursuit of College in Adulthood: Reclaiming Past Selves or Constructing New? Journal of Adult Development, 13, 109-117.
We are working on a college pathway resource for the web.