Launching Dreams: A Transcendental Phenomenological Study Describing What It Means to Be an Underrepresented Student in a Collegiate Aviation Program
School of Education
Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)
John R. Duryea
Collegiate Aviation, Critical Theory, Pilot, Social Cognitive Career Theory, Underrepresented Student, Underrepresented Minority
Aviation | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education
Molloy, James P., "Launching Dreams: A Transcendental Phenomenological Study Describing What It Means to Be an Underrepresented Student in a Collegiate Aviation Program" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2040.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore and describe what it means to be an underrepresented student in a collegiate professional pilot degree program. The central research question for this study was: What does it mean to be an underrepresented student in a collegiate professional pilot degree program? The four sub-questions were: (a) What influence do cognitive-person attributes have on meaning that is experienced and described by the underrepresented aviation student?, (b) What influence do gender and race have on meaning that is experienced and described by underrepresented aviation student?, (c) What influence does the contextual environment have on meaning that is experienced and described by the underrepresented aviation student?, and (d) What meaning do underrepresented aviation students ascribe to their experience in terms of social justice and equality as it relates to their academic and career development? The theories guiding this study were critical theory (CT) and social cognitive career theory (SCCT). Participants were 15 female and racial minority students in professional pilot degree programs at three four-year universities. Interviews, a focus group and written questionnaires provided data for phenomenological data analysis and a rich description of the phenomenon. The results provided five themes, which captured the essence of the lived experience of the underrepresented aviation student. Passion for flight was the motivation and drive for the students, and their passion transcends their identity as an underrepresented student. Collegiate aviation programs treat everyone equally and provide welcoming environments for all students to help them in achieving success. Future research can add to the results by comparing the experience of students who are not classified as underrepresented.