Ready for the Professoriate? The Influence of Mentoring on Career Development for Black Male Graduate Students in STEM

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Through this study, we sought to understand the nature of the mentoring experiences of Black male graduate students in STEM fields. Specifically, the study was guided by the following question: What role does mentoring play in scientist identity development and career development of Black men pursing STEM PhDs? We used a qualitative approach to collect and analyze data from 16 Black male participants. One-hour interviews were conducted with each participant and each audio-recorded intend ew was transcribed. A systematic inductive approach was used to analyze the data as transcripts were coded using a multi-step coding process. The data revealed mentoring was connected to race, career development, and scientist identity development. Participants spoke to the influence of racial similarities and differences between them and their mentors. In addition, the student-faculty mentoring relationship was influential for the doctoral students as they (un)realized their potential with regard to aspirations of entering the professoriate and scientific identity development. The data presented offers a unique perspective on the mentoring experience of Black male graduate students in STEM fields, an understudied population.

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