Date of Award

Fall 12-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Georgianna Martin

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research


The study examined whether undergraduate Millennial students living in different geographic regions of the United States evaluate a career electronic portfolio differently for racially diverse candidates. The researcher customized an online career e-portfolio for a fictitious candidate seeking to apply for a student leadership position at a college. The interactive e-portfolio contained a cover letter, resume, letter of recommendation, short biography, and a class project artifact. While the actual contents of the e-portfolio remained constant, a series of female-candidate photographs were manipulated to offer five unique study conditions. There was a career e-portfolio that displayed a photograph of an Asian fictitious candidate, Black fictitious candidate, Hispanic fictitious candidate, White fictitious candidate, and control e-portfolio (no photograph). Millennial undergraduates were asked to play the role of a hiring manager at a mid-sized college, review the contents of one randomly selected e-portfolio, and provide an evaluation of the fictitious candidate. Over 70,000 invitations were sent to college students via personalized e-mail, departmental listservs, and college announcement memos.

A total of 2,056 college students between the ages of 18-33 years participated in the study and all participants were enrolled at one of the eleven sponsoring colleges and universities located within four U.S. geographic regions. Eleven statistical analyses were performed to better understand the evaluation trends. The first research objective explored how participants evaluated each of the study conditions controlling for all other variables; findings revealed that the control e-portfolio study condition received a statistically lower evaluation mean than the Asian, Black, and White fictitious candidates. Additionally, the Hispanic fictitious candidate received a statistically lower evaluation than the Black and Asian fictitious candidates. The second research objective analyzed the interaction between participant racial groups and study conditions. A planned contrast analysis revealed that participants evaluated the control study condition statistically lower than same-race and different-race candidates. The third research objective analyzed the influence of student classification on the model and discovered that seniors offered the most consistent evaluations. The last research objective analyzed the influence of the participants’ geographic region on the model. The interaction between geographic region and the study conditions variable was not statistically significant.