Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Committee Chair

Stephen A Zanskas

Committee Member

Alison A Happel

Committee Member

Chloe Lancaster

Committee Member

Daniel Lustig


This critical race narrative inquiry seeks to describe and understand first-generation African American college students' perceptions of the impact their experiences with high school counselors had on their post-secondary aspirations. In addition, this study strives to enlighten school counselors about the potential power and impact their words and interaction may have on potential first-generation African American college students' post-secondary aspirations. Participants included six individuals who self-identified as first-generation African American college students; and who were between the ages of 18 and 22. Participants attended a public school in Richmond, a large metropolitan area located in the Southeastern region of the United States, interacted with the school counselor at least once, and agreed to engage in one semi-structured life history interview that focused on their educational experiences. This study examined the impact of school counselor's advice, encouragement, discouragement and interaction on student's post-secondary aspirations through the lens of Critical Race Theory. I engaged in thematic analysis and creative analytic practice in order to reflect the muliple voices of participants, and to reflect the experiences representing participants' personal and social meanings. As a result the following three primary themes emerged: (a) You call yourself a counselor; but... (b) Your words don't make me or break me; and (c) If you won't help me, someone else will. The final representation and analysis involved creating a fictional school-based organizational consultation to address high school counselors' impact on potential FGAACS' post-secondary aspirations.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

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