Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Patricia Obenauf

Committee Co-Chair

Richard Biffle

Committee Member

David Callejo

Committee Member

Barbara Copenhaver-Bailey

Committee Member

Sam Stack

Committee Member

Robert Waterson


Diversity amongst the college campus is a common goal of most American educational institutions of today. However very few are able to achieve this goal. Increasing the diversity of faculty and staff on campus is one way we can address this issue. The McNair Scholars Post Baccalaureate program is a program that provides training and support to those undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or underrepresented minority to help them pursue the goal of obtaining a doctoral degree. The qualitative research presented here, provides an overview of the West Virginia University (WVU) McNair scholars' experiences, and their journey within the McNair program. Using a phenomenological approach, we begin to understand what it is like to be a WVU McNair scholar, and how the WVU McNair program, school, and home culture all play a role in shaping their identity. Findings from this study help to recognize that each scholar's experiences are unique. As the McNair scholars move toward their goals of attending graduate school, the findings suggest that the WVU McNair program provides a space where the students are able to form an identity. This identity acts as an anchor as they face the new challenges that await in higher education. To address this issue I conducted nine in-depth interviews with the WVU McNair scholars, observations, document analysis and incorporated my own experiences. With this research, I try to present a portrayal of what it is really like to pursue higher education as a member of an underrepresented minority.