Week 9–11 | Research Activities + Artifact Reviews

10.19.20–11.09.20

In these last few weeks, I have been busy finalizing my IRB protocol for my expert interviews and student survey and I have also begun developing a process for analyzing my artifact reviews.

Since October I have scheduled 5 total interviews — and conducted 2. From the two interviews that I conducted one with an academic advisor at CMU and one with a Job Developer at a Trade School two things that stood out to me were being the importance of having the ability to connect with someone as well as the power to foster and develop peer connections and a support system. In one of my conversations, it was really powerful to hear that the trade school program conducts daily group circles where individuals share what they are thankful for and how this manifests over the 10-week program. In this space, individuals are able to build their own self-confidence, build connections with others, and can share their accomplishments while acknowledging others' success.

Mentorship, guidance, and support is something that has begun to surface as a theme or opportunity that I may like to pursue as my research efforts continue to develop.

I think these connections are so important — and oftentimes we are navigating these paths independently on our own. Even if students are meeting with a counselor or a mentor they are still having to process this information in their own silo. Community engagement and peer acknowledgments or affirmations can be powerful tools in initiating self-confidence and enabling individuals to make decisions that benefit themselves and the path they are trying to follow.

Over the next couple weeks, I am really looking forward to conducting some additional expert interviews with academic and career counselors and seeing what themes have begun to emerge in the survey that I am conducting with students — more to come in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, I wanted to highlight one of the artifacts I stumbled upon this week called Roadtrip Nation.

Image Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation is an organization that has dedicated itself to helping individuals find their career and life purpose. In a fleet of RV’s RoadTrip Nation travels around the world interviewing individuals as well as filming stories that speak to an individual's life/career journey.

Image Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

I stumbled upon the site originally when looking at the BigFuture Career Planning Page on the College Board’s official website. The College Board partnered with Roadtrip Nation to develop a tool called Career Finder.

Image Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

The difference between this tool and the design of the College Board’s website was like a complete 180 — I found myself asking myself “ is this the same website?” Especially because the visual identities between the two were so different.

This is where I found that this product was actually a partnership development between the College Board and Roadtrip Nation.

Initial thoughts I had were that this product looked cool, youthful, and something that I wanted to explore and engage with.

Images Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

First, the experience takes you through a survey plus an activity where you identify themes within your three key areas of interest.

These selections then help the Career Finder curate the content within Career Finder so it's made “just for you”!

Image Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

From here students are able to review and explore careers, majors, and leaders in the industry of careers that match their interests.

Image Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

As students dive deeper into the application they are able to view videos, milestones, personal hurdles, and educational and career journeys of professionals in the field that are referred to as leaders.

Images Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

As a final step students are then encouraged to “star” or save careers that are cached on their dashboard to provide them the building blocks to plan for their future.

Images Courtesy of Roadtrip Nation

Personally, this is where I felt the experience fell flat — everything leading up until this point was really visually engaging, dynamic, and interactive and then this step felt very forced — static and underwhelming.

At the end of the experience, students complete the ‘make a plan process’ and then they are supplied with a PDF checklist to help them achieve their goals.

Things to Consider

  • Visual Design- I believe this is an example where the look and feel is very successful in engaging a younger audience.
  • Digital Design & Application- The UI is “ok” but could be better…I appreciate the breadth of information that they are able to provide students on professionals in the real world — It really helps make these dreams or possibilities seem more tangible, I just wish it was easier to follow.
  • Community & Engagement Among Individuals-Aside from the LinkedIn link associated with each “Lead” profile. There are not a lot of opportunities for students to engage with the content or even communicate with other students that may have similar or like interests.

* I see this as an opportunity to build further support systems among peers.

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