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ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2798-4065

Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Angela R. Staton

Michele Kielty

Lennis Echterling

Abstract

Many African-American college students face struggles that make a successful college career and retention difficult or impossible. Financial struggles, lack of preparation, racial climate on campus and nationally and absence of faculty of color plague the lives of students. Being an African-American student at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) can pose additional challenges. Many minority students report experiencing various acts of prejudice including lack of nurturing and resources to help them adjust successfully. Students also report the absence or scarcity of minorities in the faculty, curriculum and population as a barrier to connection, knowledge and support. Considering the important role that mentorship plays in the lives of African-Americans, mentorship programs are a possible avenue for support for African-American college students. The purpose of this dissertation is to better understand the experiences of these students currently enrolled in the Helping College Students Mentorship Program(HCSFS). The following questions guided my inquiry: (1) How do participants describe the impact of the program (2) How do the participants experience the program (3) What experiences have been the most/least successful (3) Would participants recommend the program to someone else, why or why not and, (4) What impact do participants feel the program has had on their endurance and persistence in college? Two focus groups of five mentees each participated in the study. Implications for this study include hearing the varied needs of African-American college students, the role of spiritual leaders, and the impact involvment in a mentoring program while a student at a PWI.

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