Abstract: An Examination of Counselor Education African American Women Graduate Students Experiences in a Campus Based Affinity Group

Hi Everyone! My name is Ty’leik Brandon. I’m a rising sophomore at The College of William & Mary. I plan to major in Economics and minor in Africana Studies. I take a lot of Africana Studies classes as well as Sociology classes. I’m a member of Aim 4 on campus which is an active citizen development program. A combination of all these things (plus some real life experiences) gave me such a drive to fight for social justice and equality in our society. So, when I was given the opportunity to conduct research on a topic that I’m so passionate about this summer, I could not pass it up. This summer, I will examine Affinity Groups which are used in Predominantly White Institutions to support African American women.

Throughout history, Affinity Groups have been utilized as a safe space for African American people to develop authentic relationships among other people whom share identities. African American women experience institutionalized racism, marginalization, lack of support from peers and faculty, and they are faced with constantly having to prove themselves worthy of being at a PWI. Affinity Groups provide a safe space for individuals to come and have critical in-depth conversations around their experiences and identities as well as the experiences and identities of others.

The question I will answer this summer is: What are the lived experiences of African American graduates participating in a campus based Affinity Group at a research intensive PWI? In order to answer this question, I will solicit participants via email to all 30 participants of the Affinity Group from 2013-2016. An introductory letter will be attached to the email explaining the purpose of the study and inviting individuals to participate. The initial request for participation will specify that respondents need to meet the following criteria to be considered for participation: participated in at least 4 African American women graduate student affinity group Of the individuals that respond and consent to be interviewed I will select 8-12 participants. Upon acknowledging their consent to participate the participants will receive an informed consent form. I will conduct a qualitative research phenomenological study using individual interviews. I will conduct 8-12 interviews. The qualitative study consists of interviews with a select group of Counselor Education African American women graduate students at one research institution. Purposive sampling will be used in the study. Purposive sampling is defined as the process of selecting cases that are likely to be “information-rich”. I will use Moustakas phenomenological process of analysis to examine the data, and I will also use an auditor to review the data and help control for researcher’s biases, and to determine consistency of codes and identified themes.

I am very grateful to the Charles Center for providing me with such an amazing opportunity that I could have never experienced without their help. Not many people get to spend a summer researching a topic that they’re so passionate about, and I have the Charles Center to thank for that.