2019 Journal Articles & Book Chapters

Ellen McWhirter

  • McWhirter, E.H., Rojas-Araúz, B.O., Ortega, R., Combs, D., Cendejas, C., & McWhirter, B.T. (2019). ALAS: An intervention to promote career development among Latina/o immigrant high school students. Journal of Career Development, 46(6), 608-622. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845319828543 Abstract: This article describes the rationale, development, delivery, and evaluation strategy of a pilot Career intervention program for immigrant Latina/o high school students: Advocating for Latina/o Achievement in School. This innovative intervention aims to prevent dropout and to promote academic success and college and career readiness through a combination of academic support and enhancing critical consciousness. Shorter term goals include increasing school-related self-efficacy expectations, school connectedness, school engagement, and critical consciousness. We describe the theoretical and empirical basis for the intervention components, and how they attend to dimensions of immigrant Latina/o students’ career development. We describe program logistics, outcomes, strengths, challenges, and lessons learned from delivering the intervention. We highlight unique features of the program and suggest its relevance to career education efforts in other school and national contexts in which immigrant students face racism and inequities.
  • McWhirter, E.H., Gomez, D., & Rau, E.R. (2019). “Never give up. Fight for what you believe in”: Perceptions of how Latina/o adolescents think they can make a difference. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(3), 403-412.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000254 Abstract: Objective: Latina/o adolescents have been described as less likely to participate in volunteer and civic activities relative to other youth. The present study elicited Latina/o youths’ own views of how they can make a difference in their communities. Method: Latina/o high school students (N =686; one third males; Mage = 16.3, SD = 1.2) responded in writing to the open-ended question, “How do you think that Latina and Latino young people can make a difference in our communities?” Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Four categories (community, education, advocacy, and culture) emerged from the data, with 2 to 7 themes within each category, reflecting diverse and robust pathways by which Latina/o youth believe they can make a difference. We explore these results with respect to types of civic engagement, sociopolitical development, and manifestations of the components of critical consciousness: critical reflection, critical agency, and critical action. Conclusions: Assessment of Latina/o youth civic engagement should be expanded to better reflect Latina/o youth agency, contributions, and assets. In particular, educational persistence and cultural pride may be seen as forms of resistance reflective of sociopolitical civic engagement (Checkoway & Aldana, 2013). Responses manifest components of the developmental asset of critical consciousness. Schools and communities should recognize, affirm, and support the pathways by which Latina/o youth contribute and build their efficacy for such  engagement.

Lynn Stephen



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