Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jill Channing

Committee Members

Jim Lampley, Hal Knight, Carla Warner


This phenomenological study used qualitative research methods to explore the perceptions of support first-generation women students enrolled in college have. Eleven first-generation women students who were enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs across the United States completed one-on-one interviews with the researcher. The participants explained the support they felt from family, friends, and members of their college or university, as well as areas where further support could be given. In these interviews, key themes emerged, such as the roles of mentorship and emotional support, the need for financial assistance, the role of family in support and providing cultural capital, the roles of intersectional factors such as race and motherhood, and the offering of support during a crisis, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings from this study can be used to further institutional practice of guiding and supporting first-generation women students.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.