Date of Conferral







Kathleen Lynch


Resiliency is a critical factor in educational success; the gap exists in the research regarding the effect of resiliency in the educational success of African American female students. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological research (IPR) study was to explore and describe the lived experience of single-gender education through African American female student alumnae to capture and distill their shared experience of educational resilience and competence. Framework drew on gender-relevant education, social capital, racial identity and socialization. Research perspective that participants were viewed consisted of critical race feminism theory and competency versus deficit or risk perspective. Research questions focused on how African American female student alumnae of single-gender educational settings described their experiences in and out of school as they relate to resiliency and competence. The IPR design consisted of 3 interviews per participant; 1 focused on the past, 1 focused on the present, 1 integrated past and present experiences. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to analyze data. Results showed the components that factor into the African American Academic Achieving Female (A4F) include racial identity and socialization, gender relevant education, support systems within cultural and social capital, Guts, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity (GRIT), Cultural (Re)Appropriation Unity (CRU), personal spiritual relationship. Recommendation for the A4F framework to be used as a foundation to foster growth of the A4F. Social change implication is understanding how African American female alumnae of single-gender schools describe their shared experience of A4F on their lives to foster social change for the African American students.