Funding Knowledge Creation

By Patrick Akos and Roni White

Research is an instrumental part of the National Career Development Association. It is not only in our mission, but research informs the practice of our nearly 5000 members and beyond.

It is most clearly seen in our academic journal – the Career Development Quarterly (CDQ). The CDQ publishes articles on career counseling, individual and organizational career development, work and leisure, career education, career coaching, career management and a host of other topics. The journal is widely disseminated, with 41,580 full text downloads worldwide in 2017 and a 5-year impact factor of 1.6.

Another very visible part of our research mission is operationalized by the Research Committee of NCDA. The Research Committee provides oversight to any research NCDA conducts, is asked to participate in, or awards grants to. Such oversight may include coordination of samples, surveys, etc.; screening research proposals for NCDA grants; suggesting research topics for NCDA members; and identifying career research needs.

In terms of funding career development research, the graduate student awards and Second Century fund has played a key role in NCDA efforts. The small grants from NCDA have primarily nurtured the research of graduate students over the last two decades. In collaboration with the Awards Committee, the Research Committee reviews graduate student proposals and awards one student funding for their work annually. Past awardees utilized the award to fund incentives for participants, purchase data analysis software, make connections with diverse professionals, transcribe interviews, collect data for dissertations, as well as pay for incidental costs of research and publishing. Research foci has included identity and career experiences of immigrant Muslim women in American work and career settings, career maturity of Korean adolescents, career choice process of doctoral students, stakeholder alignment and partnerships in higher education, even the perceived self-efficacy, supports, and barriers of school counselors addressing career development needs of students with intellectual disability.

Many of these projects have resulted in completed dissertations, journal publications and presentations. For example:

Eshelman, A. J., & Rottinghaus, P. J. (2015). Viewing adolescents’ career futures through the lenses of SES and social class. Career Development Quarterly, 63(4), 320-332.

Garriott, P., Flores, L., & Martens, M. (2013). Predicting the math/science career goals of low-income prospective first-generation college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60(2), 200-209.

Barclay, S., & Wolff, L. (2012). Exploring the career construction interview for personality assessment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81, 370-377.

Navarro, R., Flores, L, & Worthington, R. (2007). Mexican American middle school students’ goal intentions in mathematics and science: A test of social cognitive career theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(3), 320-335.

Thompson, M., & Subich, L. (2006). The Relation of Social Status to the Career Decision-Making Process. Journal of Vocational Behavior 69(2), 289–301.


The gratitude from recipients demonstrate the need and value of the funding. For example, some of the previous recipients noted:

The Graduate Student Research Award validates my accomplishments as a scholar-practitioner and was a great resume booster. Personally, this recognition assures me that I am on the right career path and that the years of investment I have dedicated to this body of work has been well worth it. Professionally, this award allows me to connect with people from all over the world who share a similar passion for all things career development. This award continues to motivate me on my journey as a life-long learner and educator. Hopefully, my work influences others to consider innovative forms of education that brings multiple stakeholder groups together to solve real-world problems. – Kristin Wakefield

The grant allowed me to give incentives to dissertation participants who took part in my study, which helped in recruitment for my study. – Arden Szepe

First of all, receiving the award hugely increased my motivation to continue working on my research. At the time, I was feeling somewhat unmotivated and a bit discouraged due to complexities with my data analysis process. - Basak Kacar Khamush

The Second Century research fund was an initiative to commemorate NCDA’s 100th anniversary in 2013. A portion of the funds raised supported a targeted research program to build public awareness of career development interventions/effectiveness. A generous list of donors and hard work of the research committee moved forward research on a variety of topics. For example, Dr. LaTonya Summers from Jacksonville State University most recently has presented on her work on Black women’s perceptions about upward mobility, career compromise and natural hair bias in the workplace.

One previous recipient noted:

The grant I received from NCDA was instrumental in setting up my longitudinal research program and setting the stage for further internal funding. Additionally, obtaining the NCDA grant allowed me to strengthen my partnership with local area non-profit organizations and establish service learning experiences for students. Since obtaining the NCDA grant, approximately 100 graduate career counseling students have led over 30 workshops and groups for individuals experiencing homelessness. – Rebecca Michel

A sampling of the additional research supported by NCDA funds can be located on the NCDA website under About NCDA: Committees: Research.

The 2020 Graduate Student Research Award goes to Paolo Varquez, Ed.D., a career services specialist and an adjunct counselor at Coastline College in Orange County, California. His research aimed to understand how Latinx transfer students at a public university described (1) their career and major decision-making process during their time in community college, (2) how institutional agents play a role in their career and major-decision process, and (3) how their career counseling experiences. Read more about Varquez' research in another Career Convergence article. All research award winners are invited to submit articles to Career Convergence.

NCDA has extensive offerings for professional development (e.g., credentialing, conference, publications, webinars) and invests in other important services (e.g., advocacy for policy). As the NCDA Board works to revise its strategic plan for the next five years, we certainly hope research plays a fundamental and expansive role. Our clients depend on it.


Patrick AkosPatrick Akos, Ph.D., LPC, is the NCDA Board Trustee for Counselor Educators and Researchers. His professional experiences as a teacher, school and college counselor inform his work as a Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patrick teaches in the School Counseling M.Ed. program and has served his school, University, state, national associations and international collaborations in a variety of leadership roles. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, secondary/middle grades teacher and K-12 school counselor in North Carolina. Patrick’s research, teaching, leadership and clinical practice are grounded in a strengths-based framework, which is informed by humanistic traditions and empirically supported by contemporary scholarship (e.g. positive psychology). He can be reached at pakos@unc.edu



Roni WhiteRoni K. White, NCC, LGPC, is the founder and therapist of Apricity Wellness Counseling.  She created the “Women in the Workplace:  Leadership, Barriers, & Struggles” series.  Ms. White’s professional work encompasses counseling in the areas of mental health, pastoral, career, college, and wellness.    Currently, Ms. White is an active member of the American Counseling Association, where she serves as a member of the Neurocounseling Interests Network, and a contributing member on the group of Native American Concerns for Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development.  She maintains membership with the National Career Development Association and serves as co-chair on the Research Committee.  Additional active memberships include National Employment Counseling Association and Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.  She engages in advocacy to build awareness, promote action, and encourage change through social justice by addressing education reform, college access, income disparity, mental health parity, homelessness, ethnicity inequity/inequality, gender inequality, and disparity in healthy food resources; as these are essential responsibilities to her as a citizen of the world. 


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1 Comment

Patrick Akos   on Thursday 09/24/2020 at 04:58 PM

Thanks for the article and information!
I have a study that would be a timely topic for an interested researcher. How do I reach out to NCDA members who are interested.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.