Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Science Education

First Advisor

Dr. Megan Grunert Kowalske

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Henderson

Third Advisor

Dr. LeRoy Jones II


Black and Latino/a/x students, advisor-advisee relationship, Black women, STEM graduate programs, Black Feminist Thought, mentoring


An advisor is often the most central and powerful person influencing a student’s trajectory through graduate school (Barnes & Austin, 2009). This dissertation consisted of three articles that focused on the impact of the advisor-advisee relationship among Black and Latino/a/x students in STEM graduate programs at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) from the student perspective. Two frameworks were used to analyze data and guide the research: Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and Critical Race Theory (CRT). BFT was used to explore Black women’s experiences at Predominately White institutions as it provides an in-depth understanding of Black women’s perspectives. CRT was used when exploring Black and Latino/a/x students because it focuses on race and racism and challenges traditional paradigm methods and text impacts communities of color. Using a qualitative research approach, data were collected through six unique semi-structured interviews over three years with each participant. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and then analyzed with emergent coding. This study’s data emerged from a more extensive study focusing on the experiences of Black and Latino/a/x students enrolled in STEM/SBE graduate programs at three PWIs in the Midwest. Purposeful sampling was used from this larger population to identify nineteen Black and Latino/a/x students in STEM graduate programs for a more in-depth analysis of the advisor- advisee relationship. Findings suggest students select their advisors for various reasons: personality compatibility, lab availability, research interest, funding, and faculty interest in working with a student. Participants reported that their relationship with their advisors changed over time. Accessibility, trust, and communication were recurring themes that influenced the advisor-advisee relationship. Advisors influenced Black and Latino/a/x students’ career decisions when they asked about career interests, discuss career options, be a role model, and assisting with networking and resources. Findings from this study may help inform advisors on how to assist minority advisees at PWIs better.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access