Date of Award



© 2017 Zohreh Aminian

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Grania Holman

Second Advisor

Corinna Crafton

Third Advisor

Amy Ruth Tobol


This qualitative case study explored the importance and role of race in mentoring relationships of adult female African-American students. In addition, this study presents the experiences and obstacles faced by adult female African-American students working one on one with non-minority mentors at Reginal State College. A final purpose of the study was to document students’ perceptions about their levels of academic success with a White mentor or with an African-American mentor. This is a mentoring model in which students are assigned to a mentor from the time they are admitted to the college, and they work one on one with this mentor through graduation.

Regional State College is a predominantly White (about 87 % of faculty and staff are White) regional state college in Northeast United States, which historically has struggled with creating an environment that welcomes and appreciates diversity. The study suggests to what extent the race of the mentor matters to student success and development. Eight female African-American students participated in this study. The primary method for data collection was interviews with the selected participants. Data were thoroughly examined through coding techniques to provide a complete analysis of the results. Three major themes emerged from this data providing a strong framework to understand the participants’ perspectives on mentoring relationships. The three themes that emerged from the interpretation of the data provided valuable insights into the educational journeys of eight adult female African-American students and their relationships with their mentors. The results from this study demonstrate that, although some adult female African-American students have been successful in their mentoring relationships with mentors outside of their race and gender, they all expressed their preference to have a female African-American mentor.


Ed.D. Dissertation