Krista Klein Dissertation Defense – “When the world stopped”: How undergraduate women leaders developed their identities during an unanticipated transition

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Committee: Brent Ruben, Ebelia Hernandez, Dayna Weintraub, Paige Haber-Curran

Date: March 6, 2023

Time: 9:30am


One of the many aims of colleges and universities is helping students to develop leadership knowledge and skills in a global world. This is recognized to be a complex goal influenced by a number of factors including identity development and how students understand themselves as leaders. Developing a leadership identity is a multifaceted process that can be influenced by many factors, including time, external events, intentional programs and positions, and transitional experiences.

This study will focus on leadership identity development for college women, a group that has become a focus of increasing attention in recent years. The study also considers identity development during transitions, such as that thrust upon all of us by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, the transitional experience is centered and is defined as an event that results in changed roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions.

In this dissertation, specifically, I will explore how undergraduate women make meaning of their formal leadership experiences during a transition in their personal and/or professional lives, with an emphasis on the process of leadership identify development. The study will focus on students’ experiences reported overtime during the transition to remote education at the start of and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings from this study will have implications for higher education practice, college student leadership development, and formal and informal training and development for women leaders on campus.

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