"Asian American High School Students’ Career Aspirations: Do Males and Females have Different Aspirations?"
Presenters: Jessica Padron, UROP Fellow, Poster Presentation
Research Title: Asian American High School Students’ Career Aspirations
Faculty Advisors: Nayssan Safavian, Jacquelynne Eccles
There have been many studies on adolescents’ aspirations, yet little research done specifically on Asian Americans. Students’ occupational aspirations serve as predictors of their postsecondary and occupational attainment in early adulthood and in subsequent years. The goal of this study was to examine and describe the patterns of career aspirations among Asian American high school students across the grade levels. The second goal of this study was to examine whether patterns of aspirations looked different by gender and students’ generational status. The data for my project comes from the California Motivation Project. The total sample size was 969 Asian American students (52% male and 48% female) of whom 20% were English learners (English fluency was used as a proxy for generational status). Career aspirations were coded using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network database. Students’ coded aspirations were aggregated into fourteen categories and frequency of reported aspirations was examined across the grade levels, gender groups, and generational status. Findings from this study show that females across all grades mostly aspired to health- related occupation aspirations. Males across all grades largely aspired to health-related and computer-related occupation aspirations. These results provide general support that females and males aspire to different careers, and career aspirations differentiate across high school.