Document Type



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First Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dawn Addy

Third Advisor's Name

Erskine Dottin

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dionne Stephens


Women, African American, Non-traditional student, Doctoral Studies, Women Studies, Career Women of African Descent, Graduate Studies, Black women, post graduate studies

Date of Defense



This study examines the educational persistence of women of African descent (WOAD) in pursuit of a doctorate degree at universities in the southeastern United States. WOAD are women of African ancestry born outside the African continent. These women are heirs to an inner dogged determination and spirit to survive despite all odds (Pulliam, 2003, p. 337).This study used Ellis’s (1997) Three Stages for Graduate Student Development as the conceptual framework to examine the persistent strategies used by these women to persist to the completion of their studies.