Ellen McWhirter

Ellen McWhirter profile picture
  • Title: Ann Swindells Professor in Counseling Psychology
  • Additional Title: Clinical Training Director
  • Phone: 541-346-2443
  • Office: 261 Hedco Education Bldg


Ellen Hawley McWhirter is the Ann Swindells Professor in Counseling Psychology. She directs the Spanish Language Psychological Services and Research Specialization. Her primary area of scholarship is within vocational psychology. Specifically, her current research and scholarship are focused on Latinx adolescents and factors that influence their postsecondary plans and school engagement, including critical consciousness, experiences of discrimination, and documentation status. She typically takes new doctoral advisees each year.


Ph.D., 1992, Arizona State University
Majors: Counseling Psychology

M. C. ,1988, Arizona State University
Majors: Counseling

B. A., 1983, University of Notre Dame
Majors: Psychology

Honors and Awards

2019 Excellence Award for Outstanding Mentorship in Graduate Studies, Graduate School, University of Oregon

2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Institutional Transformation Award, UO Dreamers Working Group, University of Oregon

2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Award, University of Oregon

2015 Distinguished Achievement Award, Society for Vocational Psychology

2013 Ann Swindells Professorship in Counseling Psychology

2012 Faculty Excellence Award, University of Oregon

2010 Fellow, Society for Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association

2009 Oregon Community Credit Union Research Fellow, Eugene, OR.

2008 John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career or Personality Research, Society for Counseling Psychology, APA.

2008 Psychologist of the Year Award, Lane County Psychologists’ Association, Co-recipient with B.T. McWhirter, Lane County, Oregon.

2007 Co-recipient with program: American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Department of the Year Award.

2005 Outstanding Major Contribution Award, Society for Counseling Psychology and The Counseling Psychologist, with co-authors David Blustein and Justin Perry.

2004 Fulbright Scholar Award to Chile, United States Fulbright Commission and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

2001 Fritz and Linn Kuder Early Career Scientist/Practitioner Award, Division 17, American Psychological Association.

1995 American Counseling Association ‘Ohana’ Honors Award for significant contributions to the profession in the areas of diversity and multicultural counseling.

1991 American Association of University Women American Fellow: Dissertation Research Award, Washington, D.C.


McWhirter, E.H., Rojas-Araúz, B.O., Ortega, R., Combs, D., Cendejas, C., & McWhirter, B.T. (2019). ALAS: An intervention to promote career development among Latina/o immigrant high school students. Journal of Career Development. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/089484531982854 

McWhirter, E.H., Gomez, D., & Rau, E.R. (2019). “Never give up. Fight for what you believe in”: Perceptions of how Latina/o adolescents think they can make a difference. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(3), 403-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000254  

McWhirter, E.H., Garcia, E.A., & Bines, D. (2018). Discrimination and other education barriers, school connectedness, and thoughts of dropping out among Latina/o students. Journal of Career Development, 45(4), 330-344. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845317696807

Diemer, M.A., Rapa, L.J., Voight, A.M., & McWhirter, E.H. (2016). Critical consciousness: A developmental approach to addressing marginalization and oppression. Child Development Perspectives, 10(4), 216-221.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12193  

McWhirter, E.H., & McWhirter, B. T. (2016). Developing a measure of Latina/o adolescent critical consciousness. Journal of Career Assessment, 24(3), 543-558.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072715599535

Luginbuhl, P.J., McWhirter, E. H., & McWhirter, B. T. (2016). Sociopolitical development, autonomous motivation, and education outcomes among low income Latina/o adolescents. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 4(1), 43-59.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/lat0000041

Diemer, M., McWhirter, E.H., Ozer, E.J., & Rapa, L. (2015). Advances in the conceptualization and measurement of critical consciousness. The Urban Review, 47(5), 809-823.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072715599535


Dr. E. McWhirter's empirical research is focused on adolescent career development, with a particular focus on the educational persistence and career development of Latina/o adolescents. This work is informed by social cognitive career theory, which attends to how personal and contextual factors influence the formulation of career interests, and the translation of these interests into goals, actions, and attainments (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; 2000).

Current projects focus on factors associated with Latina and Latino adolescents' postsecondary plans and school engagement, including critical consciousness, sociopolitical development, and experiences of discrimination. Dr. McWhirter is also interested in the constructs of perceived barriers and supports, self-efficacy expectations, and outcome expectations and their relationships with adolescent career development outcomes. She is a member of the UO Dreamers Working Group, which aims to enhance awareness, supports, and resources for undocumented and mixed-status students on campus.

A Fulbright Scholar  (Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile, 2004), her research has been recognized by the Society for Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association with the Fritz and Lynn Kuder Early Career Scientist-Practitioner award in 2001 and the John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career or Personality Research in 2008. In 2015 she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Vocational Psychology.