Announcement of Ph.D. Higher Education Dissertation Defense Dawn Ogali-Frederic: “Exploring the Graduate School Experiences of African Immigrant-Origin Students at Historically White Institutions in the United States”

10:00 am - 11:30 am

Driven by exponential growth in migration from Africa, Black immigrants and their U.S.-born offspring comprise roughly one in five or 21% of the entire Black population in the U.S. (Tamir & Anderson, 2022). This population growth has led to increased enrollment in higher education and furthered the diversity of Black students on U.S. college campuses (Massey et al., 2007). Although a growing population, the existing literature on the higher education experiences of Black African immigrants is limited (George Mwangi & Fries-Britt, 2015; George Mwangi & English, 2017). In this growing field of study, few have solely focused on the graduate school experiences of this population (George Mwangi & English, 2017). This qualitative study addressed this gap by examining the graduate school experiences of African immigrant-origin students at historically white institutions (HWIs) in the New York metro area. Guided by intersectionality as a theoretical perspective, phenomenology as a strategy of inquiry and Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (Musues, 2014) as a theoretical framework, this study explored the critical experiences of African immigrant-origin students in graduate school. Data from semi-structured interviews with ten graduate school alums highlights seven key experiences African immigrants navigate at HWIs and how their intersecting identities and institutional environments coalesced to inform those experiences. The seven themes are: 1) navigating challenges, 2) finding and creating support communities, 3) experiences with faculty and staff, 4) evolving identities, 5) racialized experiences within HWIs, 6) academic experiences, and 7) parental influence. This study offers important implications and recommendations for higher education research, practice, and policy aimed at supporting African immigrant-origin students in U.S. higher education.

Keywords: African immigrant graduate students, graduate school, Black immigrants in higher ed,

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