Melissa K. Bokovoy, University of New Mexico
Brian Campbell, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Alejandra Garza, University of Texas at Austin
The panel will consider how concerns related to the job market are not homogenous but unique and circumstantial depending on students’ backgrounds and experiences. How do the concerns of historically marginalized groups of students factor into these conversations? For example, we know that teaching assessment is biased against women and racial minorities, narrowing their career prospects as teachers and educators. Many international students might give up obtaining a job in the United States due to anxieties stemming from the cultural gap and language barriers as well as tenuous visa situations and growing xenophobia. Additionally, how does class position and the accumulation of student debt affect PhD candidates’ well-being when they cannot afford to accept adjunct or temporary teaching and research positions? For students with prior mental health concerns, asking them to take on internships, unpaid labor, and more work in general, can produce added stress and anxiety.
Nevertheless, adopting a more flexible mindset about career outcomes can empower graduate students to approach their careers options with an open mind and help reduce stress and anxiety throughout graduate school. If departments can connect graduate students to the right resources that will help them navigate multiple career pathways and encourage them to seek out mental health services, they can help ease the uncertainty of the academic labor market—removing stigmas surrounding both mental health and career diversity in the process.