Engineer Inclusion

How do we influence a student’s journey to their career?

I had an aha moment when working with Heidi Strand from Blue Door Consulting on marketing strategies for nontraditional pathways. The customer journey that a business considers is very similar to that of a student’s journey from education to career. There are numerous touchpoints along the way that can influence choice and trajectory. In this post, we compare a student’s career journey to a business’ customer journey map and reflect on which part along the way we play.

Think about a brand or company that you love and have been loyal to for a while. Reflect on your journey as a customer. Recall some specific moments, or perhaps an accumulation of many consistently great moments that forged your loyalty. Many businesses intentionally consider the customer journey by creating a customer journey map.

A customer journey map breaks down the relationship between the customer and the business into individual phases. It allows companies to visualize the many small decisions customers make along the way. Businesses can then narrow their focus and deliver the right resources at the right time. The intentional effort aids the conversion of prospects into customers more quickly and reduces the chances of neglecting prospects or customers who need their help. By understanding the entire customer journey businesses can learn how to structure each touchpoint to serve the customer best.

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Customer Journey Map Examples

The journey from education to career is similar! Think about your own career journey. It starts with awareness. Then you consider your options before deciding on a path. Sometimes you stay on the path or change directions. All along the way to and through our careers, there are touchpoints that influence our trajectory. So many touchpoints along the way that signal: continue, detour, stop or change course altogether. 

Student Career Journey Map

A Student Career Journey Map is a visual illustration of the full student journey across major and minor touchpoints. Portraying the student experience in different phases and intensities, a student Career journey map is a holistic approach to understanding the experience flow a student has in their journey toward a nontraditional career.

What are the touchpoint on a student career journey?


Student touch points are everywhere. From the first time they find your website, every phone call they make, social media posts they view, every person they pass in the hallway, to the syllabuses they read, to how they feel in the classroom, every moment contributes to the trajectory and cumulative success of the student.

When you layer in the impact of microaggressions on historically marginalized people, the touchpoints compound. 

Examples of touchpoints:

  • Media and Communications
  • Application
  • Registration
  • Advising
  • Courses
  • Community
  • Events
  • Special Programs


Every employee contributes to the student journey. We may be connected by many touchpoints, or just a few, but every moment matters.

Our goal is for every student to succeed in their pursuit of a career. Take a moment and reflect on the touchpoints you have, and how you can make each the best experience possible for students.

Share some ideas in the comments.

Journey Maps for Equity in Education

We use the journey maps as a learning tool during our Nontraditional Careers in CTE and STEM workshops. Some photos are shared above. After mapping all of the touchpoints we connect each to known root causes for equity in CTE and STEM. But we don’t stop there! Strategies are the next step to increasing the participation of historically marginalized students in nontraditional pathways and careers.

Customer Journey Image Sources: Grey Background | White Background

Headshot of Dr. Meagan Pollock

Meagan Pollock, PhD

Dr. Meagan Pollock envisions a world where personal and social circumstances are not obstacles to achieving potential, and where kindness, inclusivity, and conservation prevail.

An international speaker, teacher, engineer, and equity leader, her mission is to provide services, tools, and resources that inspire awareness and initiate action.

As an engineer turned educator, Meagan Pollock is focused on engineering equity into education and the workforce.

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About EI

We help people intentionally and systematically engineer equity and inclusion into their organizations: driving positive outcomes and effectively supporting employees and the community.

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