Yakaboski, Tamara

Committee Member

Birnbaum, Matthew

Committee Member

Newman, Harmony


Higher Education & Student Leadership


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





346 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this interpretivist qualitative study was to develop a better understanding of the lived experiences and self-authored development of women who were mothers navigating the journey of motherhood, doctoral degree, and a professional life in the field of student affairs. Research was conducted with guiding principles of reciprocity, empowerment and relationships.The discoveries identified through this study produced relatable findings and provided a deeper understanding of the journey these women experienced with their triad roles of doctoral student, mother, and student affairs practitioner. Data analysis was an on-going process and this assisted in the development of an ethnographical context for this study and participant narratives that contributed to the discovery of the emerging themes. Themes included identity development; self-sacrifice, and a spirit of "just keep going" for each of the women involved in this study. The study unveiled each doctoral student mother working as practitioners of student affairs developing toward self- authorship in each of their three roles. Additionally, it was determined that the temporary status of the student role impacted the development of the women and added challenges of their acceptance of their scholarly identity as they progressed through a grassroots effort of empowering others and working toward a more equitable academy. The implications of this study include the need for recognition of all identities women hold to support and encourage them as they progress through their studies. Acknowledging identities could lead to opportunities for the development of sub- communities that create a sense of belonging for the women, which promotes their success as students. Finally, women need recognition that reiterates their identity as scholars, outside validation promotes internalized acknowledgment of who these women are becoming.

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Copyright belongs to the author.