Publication Date

Fall 5-11-2022

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


Throughout my academic journey, I have noticed the word “mentor” slowly becoming diluted and used on a solely casual basis. Often, people know what the word mentor means, which provides the sense that mentorship is something anyone can achieve or do. As a result, people constantly attempt to learn the fundamentals of this form of practice as if mentorship is something easily attainable. Reflecting on this idea, I was curious to understand why I can only rely on a few people when needed, especially when it involves higher education. My study analyzes the mentorship experiences between professional staff and first-generation students of color. Current research has discussed practical skills and overall benefits of mentoring students, but there is not much research on the mentor-student relationship itself. This analysis explored those relationships, specifically at the University of San Diego (USD), between professional staff (mentors) and students (mentees) when seeking help. My analysis explored this relationship by decolonizing and redefining what mentorship should look like. Therefore, my intention for this study was to incorporate a holistic approach by integrating and looking at the mind, body, and spirit in this form of practice. Six first-generation students of color were selected based on my study criteria. Each participant participated in a 30-minute individual interview, followed by two 45-minute community-building circles with three participants in each group. The major concepts guiding my work are the system of “other mothering” (Hirt et al., 2008), and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model.

Creative Commons License

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This work is licensed under a CC BY License.