"When you want to give up, you want to give in": Mentoring perceptions of African American women doctoral students at a predominately White institution
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Mentoring in graduate education is considered an important and essential part of graduate education. The journey to the doctorate for African American students, especially for African American women, comes with many hurdles and obstacles. Mentorship for these students has become a common topic when discussing faculty- student relationships. This qualitative study was designed to understand the mentoring experiences of African American women human resource development (HRD) doctoral students and how they make meaning of their mentoring experiences with at a predominantly White institution (PWI). The research questions to guide this study were: (1) what are the perceptions of faculty mentoring for African American female doctoral students in this HRD program and (2) what are the experiences of faculty mentoring for African American female doctoral students in this HRD program. The selection of participants for this qualitative study included six African American women enrolled in an HRD program at a PWI. Purposeful sampling was used to generate information and rich data. In this study, each of the six participants was interviewed individually with an interview guide consisting of semi-structured interview questions. To successfully explore the mentoring experiences of African American female students enrolled in a HRD doctoral program at a PWI, key findings from this study were reported from a qualitative study involving six African American female doctoral students enrolled in an HRD program at a PWI. Emerging themes from the study were identified as how they got to where they are; the perceptions, expectations, and actual experiences between the women and faculty. To reinforce and inform the need for mentoring, the participants provided an insight on their experiences as an African American female doctoral student in an HRD program at a PWI. In addition to a general discussion of the mentoring relationships, I focused primarily on the African American female doctoral students perceptions, expectations and experiences regarding their mentoring relationships with faculty. The findings from this study included support from family, friends and some faculty members, feelings of isolation, disconnected from the program, overwhelmed and no guidance. Other findings included only select few (students) receive mentoring, faculty don’t expect much from African American women students and yearning for an African American female faculty mentor.
Fowler, Rhonda Michelle (2013). "When you want to give up, you want to give in": Mentoring perceptions of African American women doctoral students at a predominately White institution. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from