Student Reports

The Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) has an active internship program where college students – both undergraduate and graduate – from around the country work closely with a CCWT staff researcher on various research projects or on their own writing projects. These writing projects are designed by student interns in collaboration with CCWT staff, and the intern receives training and guidance on how to prepare and write literature reviews, policy analyses, and position papers on college-workforce related topics. On this page you’ll find some of the writing projects completed by our talented interns!

Speciale, T. (2020). English-language and Workforce Transition Support for Nonnative English-Speaking (NNES) International Students. Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions Student Report #3. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Introduction: Over 5.3 million students worldwide are enrolled in universities outside of their home country (UNESCO UIS, 2020). While the majority of these students come from non-English speaking countries, Anglophone countries continue to be their top destinations.

International students are drawn to foreign universities in search of credentials and academic and career opportunities unavailable in their home countries (ITA, 2016). The majority pursue degrees in STEM fields (in particular engineering, math, and computer science), followed closely by Business and Management (IIE, 2019). A prerequisite for admission to an English-speaking institution of higher education is English language proficiency, determined by standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Continue reading.

Breslinang, S. (2020). Enhancing Social Capital: Policy Recommendations for First-Generation, Low-Income, and Students of Color in Higher Education. Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions Student Report #2. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Introduction: For marginalized college students—such as first-generation, low-income, and students of color—higher education has long been a battleground where they have fought for their futures and equal treatment, and it is no different in 2020. Institutions and societal structures that shape opportunity, such as colleges and universities, are being challenged. Amidst the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19, and other events; problems of racism and classism have continuously persisted to restrict opportunities for too many students with a new essence of publicity that we haven’t seen previously.

College students at the forefront of this battle fight to receive better treatment from academic institutions. Young people are learning how to connect, network, and push back against societal norms (Networking, 2017). Students should not feel the pressure and have the personal responsibility to close the resource gap. They have immense pressure to develop relationships and networks so they can use these connections for their own gain. This concept defines social capital, which means transferring someone’s relationships into personal, economic, or professional gain. Achieving this becomes especially difficult when it comes to students not included in the dominant culture—non-white, first-generation, and low-income students—for whom the disparities are increasingly evident. The challenges faced by these students consist of everyday looks from people on the street, the disregard felt in classrooms, and neglect from faculty. As the nation, and subsequently colleges, become more diverse; it is essential that postsecondary institutions provide the same opportunities so that these students can construct social capital like their more privileged counterparts. Continue reading.

Jiang, S. (2020). Asian and Asian American college students’ educational and career dilemmas during Covid-19. Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions Student Report #1. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the landscape of college education and career opportunities for Asian and Asian American students. For Asian international students, the shutdown of university housing, restrictions on international travel and the tightened visa policies have made many students stuck in the pandemic. For Asian American students, the increasing family responsibility brought by nation-wide lockdown and the loss of employment opportunities have imposed barriers for this group to complete their coursework on time. Moreover, both groups have been disproportionately targeted at during the COVID-19, as anti-Asian racism surged in many US cities and campuses. Universities need to recognize the institutional racism entrenched in higher education system, send clear anti-racist messaging from leaders, educate the white community, and create robust bias response system to counter racism targeting Asian and Asian American students. In addition, institutions should also be pro-active in offering mental counseling to Asian and Asian American students, extend internal job opportunities, and push for more flexible visa policies to retain international graduates.