Dynamic Influence of Family on College and Career Choices of Underrepresented Minorities in the Biomedical Sciences
Simeon Slovacek, Sharin Jacob, Laura Flenoury

This study examines the dynamic influence family exerts on the college and career choices of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical sciences. Three research questions address the following issues: 1) the importance of family influence on students’ academic decisions, 2) the way in which this influence change over time, and3) some of the factors leading to college students’ level of dependence on family as they pursue their education. The study utilizes focus group (n=38) and survey (n=47) data from students at progressive educational stages to measures how family influence changes over time spanning from high school completion through Ph.D. attainment. Results indicate heavy reliance on family for support in high school (95%) and community college (100%), whereas fewer university undergraduates look to family for support as they pursue their degrees. Graduate students display a return to reliance on family for support as they pursue their education (graduate (75%) and post-baccalaureate students (41%)). To better understand the academic orientation of parents and families of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical fields, we analyzed a survey (n=69) from parents and families of undergraduates, revealing many parents lack the cultural capital necessary to guide their students as they pursue a Ph.D.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v4n4a9