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Abigail Conley


Though Black women continue to receive advanced degrees at increased rates, this attainment is not reflected in the number of Black women serving as faculty members in academia. The field of counselor education encourages the recruitment and retention of diverse students and educators, though the literature outlining the reality of the experiences of Black women in counselor education has been limited. This qualitative interpretive phenomenological analysis uncovered the academic experiences of Black women doctoral students from kindergarten to their current doctoral programs, and how these experiences have influenced their career decision making. Guided by Black feminist thought and career human agency theory, two rounds of qualitative interviews addressed K–12 and postsecondary academic experiences, respectively. Themes that emerged as influencing career decision making for the participants included Being the “Only,” Playing the Game, Family Matters, Proving People Wrong, and Support.


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