Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Tonks, Stephen M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)


This dissertation explores the impact of educational experiences on the identity development of undergraduate Black women attending a predominantly White institution. The dissertation was organized into three chapters. Chapter 1 is a literature review for publication. Chapter 2 is a research study for publication and Chapter 3 is a multi-media project that highlights the narratives of Black women in their own voices. In Chapter 1, I present a literature review that documents published works centering on Black women and identity development. The first purpose of the review of literature is to provide a timeline of research on Black women and identity development. The second purpose is to provide future research directions for those interested in the Black women and identity development research stream. A major implication is the need for a more intersectional model of identity development for Black women. Chapter 2 is a qualitative study of Black women’s motivation to persist in college using self-determination theory as a theoretical framework and intersectionality as a lens. This study utilized interview data from nine Black women participants. In understanding Black women's motivation to persist in predominantly white spaces we must first acknowledge the role of power and social structures. The study found that extrinsic messages carry internal impact. Chapter 3 is a multimedia project. Utilizing the question protocol developed and utilized in the data collected for the second chapter, the participants of a focus group for Black undergraduate women developed their own personal narratives of persistence in higher education. The resulting product is a collection of narratives that will be a limited series podcast. The podcasts are available on the Blkwomynvoices podcast channel which can be found on Apple and Google Podcasts and Soundcloud.


103 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type