Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Elyse Hambacher

Second Advisor

Andrew Coppens

Third Advisor

Cari Moorhead


The proposed dissertation investigates the enduring relevance of a pre-college summer bridge program for underrepresented minoritized (URM) students who participate in the program as an entry point into a predominantly White institution (PWI). Using narrative inquiry and a critical frame, this dissertation uses individual interviewing and focus group data to understand the experiences of 10 URM summer bridge program participants at different points in their undergraduate academic career. For the purposes of this study, relevance of a summer bridge program for URM students refers to the ways in which deliberate and proactive programming helps students to develop academic and socio-emotional skillsets to resist stigma and persist through their undergraduate studies at a PWI. The research draws on critical race theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework and intends to inform more impactful strategies to support the retention of URM students at predominantly White institutions. The research also intends to center these experiences of the 10 URM students to illuminate systemic racism in higher education institutions with an eye towards deconstructing and dismantling it. These narratives will highlight the challenges faced by URM students at PWIs in the hopes of furthering racial equity in education