Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Monica Reid Kerrigan, Ed.D.

Committee Member 1

James Coaxum, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

MaryBeth Walpole, Ph.D.


Women community college students, Black


Community College Leadership | Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to add the voices and counter-stories of five Black women who attend community colleges to the discourse and literature concerning their co-curricular involvement experiences and persistence. I used critical race theory (CRT) as the theoretical framework to understand how involvement in co-curricular activities helps Black women at community colleges create support systems that allow them to overcome oppression and other forms of subordination and persist. Most studies that examine this phenomenon tend to use seminal student involvement theories that fail to account for the nuanced experiences and subordinate intersecting identities that Black women at community colleges occupy. My participants shared their counter-stories during interviews. The data was analyzed, interpreted, and presented using concepts of narrative inquiry and critical race counter-storytelling, which informed the methodological approach of my study. The findings from this research study indicated that despite a lack of formal institutional programs and support structures at community colleges, Black women were able to persist. They created peer support systems, made deep and meaningful connections with faculty and staff advisors and mentors, and accessed resources through their co-curricular activities. Further, the findings from this research study suggest implications for policy and praxis regarding the influence of co-curricular involvement experiences on persistence for Black women.