Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Kenda Grover

Second Committee Member

John Thompson


Collegiate Competitions, Student Organizations


Today’s workforce is more complex and demanding than ever before. In order to compete in today’s job market, students need to be equipped with complex problem solving skills and hands-on experience before graduation. While the formal classroom provides knowledge in basic skills and in some cases hands-on learning, this may not be enough to be competitive in industry. Students need to be engaged in practical situations in order to improve communication, acquire leadership abilities, and learn to work with others to solve problems and apply critical thinking skills. These skillsets are required by industry to be a productive employee in today’s market.

While it is possible for students to successfully enter the job market without participation in academic collegiate student clubs and organizations, research suggests that those that do engage in extracurricular student clubs and organizations have an advantage when it comes to entry level employment. In order to develop communication, leadership, critical thinking and problem solving skillsets, students must be engaged in activities outside the classroom.

Academic collegiate student organizations provide opportunities for students to explore activities outside the traditional classroom. Students participate in situations where they work with others to complete a common goal or task that may help them to develop skills desired by industry. By participation in academic student competitions, students are given opportunities to learn and apply leadership skills, problem solving, communication and critical thinking by applying classroom knowledge to situations and problems that they are likely to encounter in the workforce. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived occupational benefits of participating in technical collegiate competitions, with an emphasis on the Collegiate Design Series, Baja SAE.