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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Navigating the cultural environment of academia can be a difficult task, particularly for first-generation college students and those who belong to groups typically marginalized in doctoral programs. This study examines two cases of first-generation, African American female graduate students to determine which traits preclude success in doctoral programs and how mentoring relationships influence completion. The women in this study come from similar backgrounds, but they adopted very different strategies for coping with adversity. It is possible that the presence or absence of positive mentoring relationships in their lives influenced the strategies that the women chose. This article seeks to strengthen current evidence on the positive effects of mentoring on educational success and presents factors for mentors to consider when working with minority students.

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