CGHE webinar series | Webinar 3 - Professional expectations and personal motivations: Science and engineering graduates’ reflections on their role in society

What happens when students graduate from their degree programs and transition to work? What roles do students see for themselves in society beyond the expectations of their job? Research indicates that as students make the school to work transition a shift in their orientation towards disciplinary identities happens. This growing identity, influenced by the context of their jobs, can illuminate students’ current view of themselves upon entry to the workforce and support future exploration of their perceptions of their role in society. In this longitudinal qualitative inquiry of engineering and science graduates, we seek to understand how students’ perceptions of their societal roles develop over time. Current trends from our analysis indicate that students tend to describe an overarching view of their discipline rather than a more focused approach one would see while they are actively pursuing their degrees. Additionally, we see evidence of students discussing developing personal transferable skills that they are leveraging in their jobs that they can in turn use to positively impact the contexts in which they work and the wider society. This webinar will explore how students describe their role in society beyond graduation particularly highlighting their broader narratives around the interplay between the professional expectations and personal motivations.