My project involves investigating job application behavior among students from different socio-economic backgrounds within an elite university setting. Elite universities represent the apex of higher education and should be able to promote significant social mobility for each of their students. A degree from an elite university should highlight a students’ credentials and open pathways towards their ideal career. By looking at applicant behavior during the moment students apply to entry-level positions, we can gain a rough understanding of students’ career choices. Applicants may apply to different industries, have disproportionate application frequencies, or demonstrate other dissimilarities with their job application behavior. The goal of this project is to determine if socio-economic backgrounds play a role in shaping these career choices.
My mentor is Professor Trevor Young-Hyman, who specializes in research of organizational structure and culture, with concentrations in economic sociology and knowledge-intensive work. He is a subject matter expert of workplace democracy and civic and social engagement, and also has built a wide network of researchers and graduate students with similar research interests. It is an immense privilege to have the opportunity to study under Trevor and I cannot express enough gratitude for his willingness to support this research project. My project falls under the broad category of supply side labor market research, an area that has had less academic attention relative to demand side. However, supply side interactions can have downstream implications in regards to candidate applications and selection. Understanding the mechanisms that determine supply side behavior can ultimately improve an organizations’ applicant pool and ensure that the ideal candidates are matched with the right jobs.
I am currently considering three possible career paths after graduation: attending graduate school, working as a digital marketer, or trying entrepreneurship through a startup. In working with an interdisciplinary community, I will be able to grow my network and widen my scope of the current problems that our society faces both corporately and academically. Exploring a research problem outside of my regular coursework will foster a passion for research that I can carry into graduate school. The data analysis portion of this project will enhance my digital marketing skills through learning R programming to create visualizations and run regressions for hypothesis testing. Conducting my own research project provides experience with setting short- and long-range goals to complete this project, a skill needed by any entrepreneur. Overall, this wonderful opportunity to participate in the Brackenridge fellowship will develop a critical thinking mindset and sharpen my analytical skills.
Outside of the classroom, my favorite pastime is cooking. I’ve been told from friends and family that my best recipe is my homemade mac and cheese!