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ERIC Number: EJ1165205
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
Providing Social Support for Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minority PhD Students in the Biomedical Sciences: A Career Coaching Model
Williams, Simon N.; Thakore, Bhoomi K.; McGee, Richard
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n4 Article 64 Dec 2017
Improvement in the proportion of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities (URMs) in academic positions has been unsatisfactory. Although this is a complex problem, one key issue is that graduate students often rely on research mentors for career-related support, the effectiveness of which can be variable. We present results from a novel academic career "coaching" intervention, one aim of which was to provide supplementary social support for PhD students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. Coaching was delivered both within small groups and on an individual basis, with a diverse group of coaches and students coming from many universities. Coaches were provided with additional diversity training. Ninety-six semistructured interviews with 33 URM students over 3 years were analyzed using a qualitative framework approach. For most of the URM PhD students, coaching provided social support in the form of emotional, informational, and appraisal support. Coaching groups provided a noncompetitive environment and "community of support" within which students were able to learn from one another's experiences and discuss negative and stressful experiences related to their graduate school, lab, or career plans. This coached peer group model is capable of providing the social support that many URM students do not find at their home universities.
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago)
Grant or Contract Numbers: DP4GM096807; R01GM085385; R01GM08538502S1; R01NR011987; R01GM107701; 1R35GM11818401