Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ed Psychology and Research


Educational Psychology

Committee Member

Susan Magun-Jackson

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr


This study exposed the way African American female engineering students constructed their academic identities by focusing on their lived experiences. Participants included nine engineering students at Mid-South University (pseudonym) who identified as African American females. Participants were required to sit for one semi-structured academic life history interview that focused on their academic experiences from early childhood to present. This study employed two levels of theory in order to obtain a comprehensive view of participants' experiences. Black feminist theory, which accounts for the intersectionality of participants' race and gender, served as the macro level theory and academic identity, which accounts for individual's sense of identity within an academic context, served as the mid-level theory.I engaged in thematic analysis, narrative analysis, and creative analytic practice in order to highlight similarities between participants' stories, differences between participants' experiences, and to make this research accessible to individuals outside of academia. As a result, the following three themes emerged to highlight the similarities between participants: (a) just because you struggle, does not mean you should quit; (b) engineering is something you can't do alone; and (c) I can be creative and do math and science? That's cool! Narrative analysis exposed the academic identity statuses of participants to be either identity achieved, identity moratorium, identity foreclosed, or identity diffused. The final piece of analysis involved creating a play that highlights the experiences of an African American girl's pursuit of her engineering degree. Additionally, the final chapter provides conclusions, implications, suggestions for future research, and limitations of the current study.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.