Jen, Laura & Vicky’s Capstone Project Kickoff

Last week we learned the topic for our capstone project that will carry us through the rest of the year: College Persistence and Completion. We met as a group for the first time a few days before our first class and brainstormed on topics that interested us and questions we had surrounding the project. During our first class, Sarah Saxton-Frump spoke to us about her organization, PelotonU, and their goals regarding this partnership.

We then broke out into our groups to form our Focus Statements. One thing that interested us after hearing Sarah speak is how shame and, more specifically, impostor syndrome play a role in students’ education decisions. We wanted to focus our research on women’s experiences because we’re interested in women’s rights and gender in/equality, e.g. the gender pay gap that still exists in the workforce today. So our focus statement is How imposter syndrome impacts women’s post-secondary education trajectory, from cultural background to employment.

One thing we have learned since crafting our focus statement is about how the educational landscape has shifted recently and there are now more females graduating than males. We find this especially interesting since impostor syndrome often manifests when people are considered successful, so focusing on women should offer us a rich data set.

Right now we’re finalizing our research plan, narrowing our selection of participants, and deciding whether to interview only women or both women and men to provide an interesting point/counterpoint. We start interviewing this week and look forward to learning about these humans’ experiences!