Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Katie Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Blissett, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Brookfield, Ph.D.


Career Development, African American males, Critical Race Theory, Predominantly White Institutions


This paper studied the college-to-career transitions of African American undergraduate students who are studying in predominantly White institutions (PWIs). African American men have had to fight for their inherent rights because historically, they had been denied the chance to pursue their own personal choices because of their skin color. Their social marginalization has resulted in economic disadvantages. Access to education has also been less than the dominant race. Gaps continue to exist between African Americans and Whites in terms of graduation rates and other post-graduate outcomes and labor market outcomes. The college-to-career transition of African American men has also been fraught with challenges. This was not very well studied because transitions from college to the workplace were usually conducted from the point of view of the dominant race. Notably, theorists have primarily based their assumptions on the experiences of middle-class White men. There were studies of African American students and how they transition from college to the workplace but the setting is different. They were attending predominantly Black colleges. This means that there is a need to understand the topic from the point of view of students who study in PWI. African American men face a different set of challenges altogether, including a much smaller network compared to their White peers. Since jobs are found through networking and based on whom you know, African American men are increasingly put at a disadvantage as disparities in college enrollment and completion continue to grow. Currently, there are discernible gaps in literature pertaining to the career development experiences of African American college students as well as how they transition from college to career. There is also little empirical knowledge about their career development process as influenced by racial identity and racialized experiences within the context of a predominantly White institution (PWI). Underpinned by critical race theory, this qualitative study used a narrative inquiry methodology to address research question of how racialized identity and racialized experiences influence the career development of African American men undergraduate students at a PWI. Twelve participants were recruited for this study that revealed five themes that address the research question. Strong themes point to the importance of parental support and career center support, as well as experiences of discrimination and microaggressions on the part of the study participants. Support is important in making them more ready to shift to their chosen careers. Their resilience amidst adversities is also strongly noted.