Help A Sista Out: Black Women Doctoral Students Use of Peer Mentorship as an Act of Resistance Academic Article uri icon


  • Many Black women doctoral students entering and persisting through graduate study lack the affirmation, community, and resources necessary to confidently assert themselves as members of the academy. These barriers make it especially difficult for Black women to effectively navigate doctoral programs that privilege and normalize elite white male experiences. Using Black feminism as the conceptual lens, this manuscript presents a burgeoning peer mentorship framework of Black women doctoral students attending a predominantly white institution through a collective Black feminist autoethnography. This model highlights our strategy for not only surviving the academy, but also resisting manifestations of white heteropatriarchal violence within academia. In contrast to more common and formal faculty-student mentorship models, we engage an emergent, horizontal peer mentorship framework, comprised of three tenets: radical coping, communal sista scholarship, and the cultivation of an authentic holistic self.

published proceedings

  • Mid-Western Educational Researcher

author list (cited authors)

  • Minnett, J. L., James-Gallaway, A. D., & Owens, D. R.

complete list of authors

  • Minnett, Jari L||James-Gallaway, ArCasia D||Owens, Devean R

publication date

  • April 2019