Socialization of Graduate and Medical Students into Academic Careers




Purpose: Socialization is the process through which individuals acquire and incorporate understanding of the organizational culture with shared attitudes, beliefs, values, and skills. This process differs from student to student but is impacted by culture. Our study examines the socialization of medical and graduate students into academic careers and considers their cultural background.

Methods: This research uses the CECE model for cultural engagement along with the graduate student socialization scale by Weidman & Steins (2003). Study population included graduate, medical, and professional students. Participants were recruited via social media advertising as well as targeted communication through various national organizations and school diversity offices. The survey was available from June 15, 2020 and preliminary data was taken on July 8, 2020 which yielded 110 survey responses.

Demographics: Race/Ethnicity: Asian/Asian American (18.39%); Black/African American (10.34%); Latina/o/x/e (6.90%; Middle Eastern or Northern African (2.30%); White (59.77%); Multiracial (1.15%); Caribbean (1.15%). Gender: Woman (69.41%); Man (21.28%); Genderqueer/fluid, Questioning/Unsure, Trans Man, Trans Woman, Non-binary (1-3% each). Sexual orientation Heterosexual/straight (68.24%); Bisexual (7.06%); Gay (8.24%); Queer (5.88%); Lesbian, Asexual, Pansexual, Questioning/Unsure, prefer not to respond (1-4% each).

Results: Between 58-62% of respondents report never being given an opportunity to: engage in research that helps advance their knowledge of inequities, engage in research relevant to their identity, engage in research contributing to the improvement of the communities with whom they identify. Most students (56-71%) have never discussed becoming a faculty member, what it entails, or other careers in academia.

Conclusions: Students report lacking cultural engagement in research; this includes both learning about the cultural communities they belong to but also working on research aimed to improve those communities. Institutions have an opportunity to fill a gap in education by working towards a more culturally engaging campus environment while also recruiting students to academia.