School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


James A. Swezey


Female, CTE, STEM, Completer, High School, Gender


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate how female high school students who earned Career and Technical Education (CTE) completer status in a technology-based program of study (POS) in Virginia describe their experiences. CTE completer status is defined as having met the Virginia Department of Education’s CTE completer requirements in a technology-based POS. This study was guided by three theories: Self-efficacy theory was applied as it relates to the participants’ status as completers in a technology-based CTE POS; Role-congruity theory suggests that men and women occupy social roles with attendant stereotypes which contributed to how participants described their experience in a technology-based POS; Social cognitive career theory focuses on the factors influencing occupational choice-making. Using interviews, electronic discussion boards, and photo essays, the experiences of 12 participants who earned Virginia CTE completer status in a technology-based POS were examined to address the central research question: How do female high school students who earned CTE completer status in Virginia describe their experiences in a technology-based POS? Participants were selected through criterion sample. The data in this study was analyzed using the procedures of a transcendental phenomenology to gain a complete understanding of the participants' shared experiences as females who earned completer status in a technology-based CTE POS. After thorough analysis of the data, three themes emerged: (a) instructor influence on program and participant goals; (b) the impact of collaboration; and (c) guidance and support focused on the individual.