Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Greer-Medley, Tawanda

Second Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


African American college students may face many challenges at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), including hostile campus climates, experiences of racism and discrimination, peer conflict, and academic challenges. Similar negative experiences/perceptions have been reported by LGBTQ+ identified college students, yet few students of color have been included in this area of research. Much of what is known about LGBTQ+ African American college students has been developed from the experiences of bisexual and gay, cisgender African American men. The purpose of this study was to increase knowledge about the experiences and challenges faced by non-heterosexual and non-cisgender African American students attending a PWI. Ten LGBTQ+ identified African American college students were interviewed about perceptions of their campus climate, social lives, and academic progress. Through a grounded theory analysis, agency was identified as the core theme underlying students' sense of thriving in their academic progress, peer relationships, and perceptions of campus climate. These findings may be useful in improving the on-campus experiences for LGBTQ+ identified African American college students, and all students, attending PWIs.




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