ERIC Number: EJ850013
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
"I'll Break His Goddamned Hands"
Academe, v95 n3 p16-18 May-Jun 2009
This year, the author embarked on a tenure-track appointment as a chemistry professor. He considers himself very fortunate. As he advances into this next phase of his career, he has reflected on how he reached this point. The author's own experience leads him to believe that precious few first-generation students ultimately become chemistry professors. His hunch is confirmed by the National Opinion Research Center's recent Survey of Earned Doctorates. Of the 43,354 doctoral degrees granted in 2005, only 1,776 were conferred upon recipients in the physical sciences who reported that they had employment commitments. At every stage of his schooling and career, he felt forced not only to learn the course materials but also to decipher the educational process. A combination of hard work and fortunate events, cast against doubt and uncertainty, has defined his path. Granted, the hurdles to the PhD are difficult for anybody to clear. He believes, though, that some hurdles are unique to first-timers. The author can only hypothesize that one reason for the small number of first-generation science doctorates is that the personal experiences of others have been similar to what he encountered. Surely there are others in his situation whose experiences do not exactly coincide with his. But it would be hard to disregard the additional barriers faced by first-timers.
Descriptors: First Generation College Students, Chemistry, Doctoral Degrees, Personal Narratives, Academic Achievement, Developmental Continuity, Performance Factors, Career Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A