A phenomenological investigation of the persistence of working-class African American women doctoral students in counselor education
MetadataShow full item record
A sparse literature base informs our knowledge regarding how social class status influences the educational experiences of African-American women doctoral students in counselor education programs at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Researchers have identified that African American women doctoral students in counselor education at PWIs report differential experiences due to their race and gender statuses (Henfield, Owens, & Witherspoon, 2011; Henfield, Woo, & Washington, 2013). The impact that social class status has on the educational experiences of African American women doctoral students in counselor education at PWIs is often unnoticed. Researchers have provided evidence that ethnic minority women and students from working-class backgrounds may face unique obstacles integrating into and persisting in doctoral education at PWIs (Cueva, 2013; Gildersleeve, Croom, & Vasquez, 2011; Jones, 2003). This phenomenological inquiry explored the lived experiences of working-class African American women students enrolled in counselor education doctoral programs at PWIs. Situated in Black Feminist Thought (Collins, 2009) and the Social Class Worldview Model (Liu, Soleck, Hopps, Dunston, & Pickett, 2004), the study illustrated how the experiences of African American women doctoral students are mediated by a working-class social class status. Using semi-structured interviews, the author identified three themes that influence the persistence of working-class African American women doctoral students in counselor education. The three core themes identified were: 1) Working-Class Virtues, 2) Development of Self-Efficacy and Resiliency, and 3) Utilization of Personal and Academic Support Systems.