Conceptualizing a Proposed Model for Re-Orienting Career Centers for Immigrant College Students

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Journal of Career Development


Immigrant college students often encounter daunting tasks and obstacles when exploring career paths, seeking employment and experiential learning opportunities aligned with their interests within the dominant US higher education structure. Considering that there is a career services and development literature gap on immigrant students (who comprise a large swath of the college-going population), it is critical to develop meaningful frameworks that support research and practice in this emerging, needed space. This conceptual paper bridges a critical theory of love with funds of knowledge to re-orient the ways in which immigrant students are served at college career centers. Four guiding principles (rooted in the frameworks) are outlined that can support a more collaborative and inclusive experience for immigrant students toward gaining meaningful support at college career centers.


Print: 0894-8453; Electronic: 1556-0856


Matthew A. Witenstein is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Dayton. His US work focuses on immigrants in higher education and international educational experiences while his international/comparative education research focuses on higher education quality, organization and governance issues. He is co-editor of the Palgrave Macmillan book series “South Asian Education Policy, Research and Practice”, Associate Editor of the journal Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, Editorial Board member of Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice and of Perspectives in Education. Witenstein is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles (including in Teachers College Record, International Review of Education, About Campus and Ethnic and Racial Studies) and book chapters. Matthew currently serves as Secretary and Executive Board Member of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) while having served CIES in various leadership roles for more than a decade. He has been an invited speaker at higher education institutions, ministry and government agencies throughout the US and South Asia. Matt greatly enjoys playing and watching tennis as many times a week as possible and deeply engaging with the world through his travels.

Natalia Davila brings over 10 years of cross-industry experience and leverages a deep background in post-secondary education, program management, change management, and fostering performance enhancement to bring tailored solutions to the work environment. Natalia earned her BA in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology from Temple University and holds an MS in Organization Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Leadership for Organizations at the University of Dayton, with a focus on inclusive high impact education and transformational leadership. Natalia currently serves as the Chair of the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Caucus and is a subcommittee member of the Antiracism Initiative at the University of Delaware. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia and spends her leisure time with her two young boys.

LaDreka Karikari has built a reputation as a committed professional dedicated to leading initiatives supporting student access and success. LaDreka is the Director of Outreach and Recruitment at the University of Cincinnati’s largest college, the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S). In this role, LaDreka adopts new initiatives, explores new opportunities, and engages new partners to increase the recruitment and retention of students to A&S. LaDreka’s research explores adolescent Black girls’ experiences in social programs designed to enhance their growth and leadership development. LaDreka received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s in Education Administration and Community Leadership from Central Michigan University; currently, she is a doctoral student at the University of Dayton in the Leadership for Organizations program. LaDreka enjoys traveling with her spouse and teenage children and reading documentaries.

Chantelle Wright is the Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with responsibility for overseeing career services for all students and alumni. She has made student career development her passion for the past 10 years, dedicating her skills and services to CUNY students. Her research interests focus on equity in college student career planning and the professional development of women of color. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, her Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently working towards her doctorate in Leadership for Organizations at the University of Dayton. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family.


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