Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Although women’s status in higher education has vastly improved over the past decades, invisible barriers remain that disenfranchise first-generation Black female doctoral students at predominantly White institutions (PWI). Specifically, the sparse literature base constricts existing knowledge and understanding about the mentoring relationships of first-generation Black female doctoral students and the barriers they face in the academy. Using the theoretical framework of intersectionality, this study sought to address the ways in which first-generation Black female doctoral students navigated the academy through mentorship and the ways in which mentoring relationships were formidable to construct. Five first-generational Black female doctoral students and two former first-generation Black female doctoral students participated in this study. Using a phenomenological design, personal reflexive experiences were provided by these women, reflecting what emerged as most salient to their success in the academy. Findings suggest that Black female faculty, staff, and administrators should actively engage in constructing mentor relationships with first-generation Black female doctoral students. In addition, implications such as support groups that cater specifically to doctoral students and fostering an inclusive sisterhood amongst Black female doctoral students are needed in the academy.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sulentic-Dowell, Margaret-Mary

Included in

Education Commons