Twyla Hough seeks to aid in future careers of young Black women in West Texas area
Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FCSE) graduate student, Twyla Hough, is investigating career and education planning (CEP) among Black women in West Texas. Hough is a doctoral student in the FCSE program, pursuing her Ph.D. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Her research focuses on factors including social barriers, social supports and social-cognitive factors.
CEP can help individuals strategically select practical education steps toward their desired career path. Hough believes it's essential to expand vocational research for families, educators, and career guidance professionals to help understand and support the career paths of Black youth, especially young Black women. This research can help young Black women gain more knowledge on the necessary steps for future career and educational decisions.
"Assisting young Black women in CEP skill development can position them to experience positive employment outcomes," Hough said. "Considering that Black women with a postsecondary degree make up a lower proportion of unemployed women in the U.S., it's imperative that Black girls be guided in career planning that allows them to consider the benefits and opportunities possible through completing postsecondary education."
Hough was inspired to focus her research efforts on this topic because of her experiences with CEP as a young Black woman. She witnesses the struggles of the young adults she mentors and wants to explore how career and education planning can benefit those individuals.
"Often, I see these challenges reflected in the lives of the young women of color I mentor," Hough said. "Similarly, I recognized them in my career advising sessions with racial/ethnic minority and first-generation college students during my 15 years in university career services."
Her study of career and education planning among Black women is designed to inform career development strategies and interventions, specifically in the West Texas area. As she conducts this research, she records her reflections, perceptions, preconceptions, and observations in a research journal to promote self-reflection, -awareness, and -correction. Hough says these findings will be used to amplify the voices of young Black women by exposing educators, counselors, mentors, and researchers to CEP through real experiences.
"I plan to report findings that cause preexisting knowledge and theoretical assumptions to be suspended to the degree that allows newly acquired contextualized data to reshape meaning, understanding, and practice resulting in more effective strategies and positive CEP outcomes," Hough said.
Hough is a graduate research assistant for the Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FCSE) program in the College of Human Sciences. Distinguished faculty members guide her in research and the skills needed to impact the community. Her role in the department allows her to work with established professionals and gain valuable instruction.
"As a graduate research assistant for Dr. Cynthia Miller, I conducted a literature review, led participant recruitment, developed and administered a work-based learning survey, managed our participant database, and co-facilitated professional development sessions," Hough said. "This level of skill development and application has been invaluable to my dissertation research."
Hough will use this research to better young Black women's lives and future career decisions as they transition into adulthood. The FCSE program has played a big part in how students impact the lives of people around them.