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Finding Your Career Calling: History, Research, and Applications

Important Question Explored:  What research findings can help practitioners and faculty formulate a new approach for increasing college students’ callings?

Blake-Allen--150x150.jpgJoining as a team, the two presenters have a myriad of research and clinical experience that informs this presentation.  Blake Allan is currently attending the counseling psychology doctorate program at the University of Florida.  He has worked as a counselor and research coordinator in the areas of mental health and career development.  He is interested in the overlap between positive, existential, and counseling psychology, especially in the area of career calling.



Elizabeth-Blott-150x150.jpgElizabeth Bott, M.A., has researched career development especially as it relates to “at-risk” high school populations.  More specifically, she has looked at the effectiveness of specialized programs in the development of interest in STEM careers.  She has also served as a teacher and counselor to diverse groups of high school students and is currently a counseling psychology doctoral student at University of Florida.  Uniting both presenters is their leadership positions among college students and their interest in positive psychology and career development.  Furthermore, they both work under a leading researcher in the area of career calling.


A calling is a career that provides personal meaning, fulfills prosocial values, and originates from an external source.  Research shows that the majority of college students have or are in search of a career calling, which researchers have linked to many positive outcomes. Moreover, people may be able to find their callings with sufficient exploration. Research on career calling holds promise for understanding how to help college students cultivate and pursue their callings.

Session Experience: This session focuses on the exciting new area of career calling. The goal of the presentation is to engage participants in understanding the definition and theoretical background of career calling while integrating findings from current literature.  Participants will develop an understanding of the significant relationships between career calling and career and well-being variables such as career decidedness, life satisfaction, and life meaning.  Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their own career paths as they relate to career calling.  In combining knowledge of current literature with self-reflection, participants will be invited to discuss applications of their learning to their work roles with college students.  The ultimate aim of this session is to equip participants with tools to support college students who are in early stages of career development.

Extending the Experience: After the session, participants will . . . . . . continue the process of self-reflection on the meaning and prosocial value of their own careers, which can increase their own experience of career calling.  Additionally, this career reflection can  inform  work with college students where career calling knowledge can be used to further students’ career development and well-being.