Candace Dixon

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Given the importance of mentoring, this study will explore mentor relationships in academic settings (Waldeck, Orrego, Plax, & Kearney, 1997). Participants were both undergraduate and graduate students with and without mentors. The goal of this thesis study was to understand whether students of color with formal mentors become more successful than similar students who do not have mentor relationships. This research also explored how students who lack formal mentors get important information. In addition, this study explored many differences between men and women of color who seek or utilize mentoring relationships. Mentor and mentee characteristics, students of color in formal / informal mentorships, the benefits of mentoring, supportive communication and information seeking are topics that have been researched in this thesis study. A total of 20 students, ranging from ages 18-99, from Western Michigan University, participated. Focus groups were used as a primary method to gain insight into the importance of mentoring experiences and for data collection in this study. As a result, three essential ·themes emerged: (a) Perceptions of success; (b) The search for important information; (c) Race, ethnicity, and gender among mentoring experiences, using McCracken's (1988) guidelines and Owen's (1984) criteria as a thematic framework.