Date of Award



© 2021 Brianne Holmes

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Ashwini Wagle

Third Advisor

Daniel Marlowe


Representation in enrollment of African American female and Latina students is inconsistent with the demographic makeup across the United States. Exploring the experiences of current and past students at one southeastern medical school assisted in determining a possible cause for that underrepresentation. Two questions guided this study: (1) How do underrepresented minority (URM) females describe their decision to pursue medical education? (2) How did cultural, societal, or familial experiences or expectations influence these URM females to pursue medical education? This study employed an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology with a Critical Race Feminism framework to gather the stories of female medical students from those URM backgrounds. Significant findings include a strong support system within an academically intense family, a strong maternal role-model, financial constraints, a need for more science, technology, engineering, and math programs during formative education, and a desire for community within academia. These findings also suggest a need for reconsideration of intersectionality and anti-essentialism within pipeline programs and the approach that medical schools take to recruiting. Incorporating those changes will ultimately increase proportionate representation of minority females within US medical schools.


Ed.D. Dissertation