Amy Best, Ph.D., George Mason University (GMU)
John Dale, Ph.D., GMU
Katie Kerstetter, Ph.D., GMU
Samantha Retrosi, GMU
Other PIs: Jim Witte, Ph.D., GMU, Shannon Davis, Ph.D. GMU
The complex and dynamic relationship between professional success and civic engagement among educated immigrant professionals is examined in a mixed-methods project that combines survey data on college- educated immigrants in seven cities in the United States with qualitative interviews with survey participants. In this webinar we report on findings from 70 in-depth interviews with immigrant professionals employed in a diverse range of occupational fields and residing in both small and large U.S. cities.
We highlight the strengths of our qualitative research for building conceptual scaffolding to understand the dynamic processes through which civic involvement and professional achievement intersect and to deepen understanding of the cultural and institutional mechanisms linking civic participation and professional success. We find immigrant professionals are variously engaged civically; civic engagement among this population is overwhelmingly tied to professional and vocational interests and skills; and professional networks and community ties play an instrumental role in facilitating both professional advancement and civic involvement. Immigrant professionals participate in both formal and informal community-based organizations and groups, and many are transnational in scope, though none of the 70 interviewed report involvement in national service. Immigrant professionals who reported having few community networks, also reported greater professional obstacles.