Exploring Experiences of Graduate Students and Alumni of Color

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Terri M. Davis, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jessica D. Bartley, Psy.D.

Third Committee Member

Frank Tuitt, Ed.D.


Diversity, Multiculturalism, Higher education, Psychology, Student life, Race, Students of color, Social justice, Interpretative phenomenological analysis

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


The current study aimed to explore the unique lived experiences of Students and Alumni of Color in a predominantly white graduate level psychology program. The study was modeled after research conducted by Dr. Wahiwe McDougal, an alumnus from the researcher’s institution. Fifteen Students and eight Alumni of Color participated in either a focus group or individual interviews. Participants who were unable to complete a focus group or interview responded to an online prompt completing an expressive writing task. The researcher used Phenomenology, which aims to describe common meanings of a shared lived experience. Phenomenological methodology requires analysis of the data. The analysis produced four domains, hypervigilance, eurocentrism, representation, and faculty values. The domains centered on experiences of frustration and isolation. Based on the results, the researcher provided recommendations for graduate level psychology program administrators and faculty to improve their recruitment and retention of Students of Color.


61 pgs

Paper Method

Empirical - Qualitative

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