Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Pamela Havice, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Tony Cawthon

Committee Member

Cynthia Deaton

Committee Member

William Havice


This qualitative study sought to understand how high-achieving, non-first-generation, female, undergraduate students viewed the influence parents and families had on their career decisions. This study’s six participants were students in the same honors college at a large, four-year, public university in the Southeast United States. Data from a pre-interview survey, initial interview, in-depth interview, and interview observation protocols were used to understand participants’ career decision-making processes and the influence their parents and families had on those processes. Thematic coding was used to identify three common themes found among participants: (a) parent and family support (b) family influence on career decision-making process; and (c) career experiences of women. Within each theme, several sub-themes also emerged. This study served as a way to gain information about and understand career decision-making of high-achieving, non-first-generation, female, undergraduate students, an understudied population of students, and to contribute new information to the body of knowledge. The findings of this study provided insight into the influence families have on the career decisions of this particular population. Additionally, the findings offered a greater understanding of how gender identity impacts career experiences of high-achieving, female undergraduate students.