Benefits of Utilizing Counseling Services Among Doctoral Women of Color in STEM

Kairys Grasty, Shivani Sakri, Amanda C. Arnold, Jennifer M. Bekki, Kerrie G. Wilkins-Yel, Madison Natarajan, Bianca Bernstein, Ashley K. Randall

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) doctoral programs are uniquely challenging for Women of Color due to the prevalence of gendered and racialized encounters. The cumulative toll of these marginalizing experiences can negatively impact graduate Women of Color's mental health and STEM persistence. The current study examines the benefits that graduate women derived from utilizing counseling services to mitigate the psychological toll of these negative encounters. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight racially diverse women who either completed or discontinued their STEM doctoral programs prior to completion. Participants' narratives revealed two themes: precipitating events to seek counseling and benefits of utilizing counseling, which includes three sub-themes: feeling heard, increased self-awareness, skill-building. The findings of this study highlight how counseling services are overwhelmingly positive for graduate Women of Color experiencing challenges in STEM, regardless of whether or not the decision to utilize services results in degree completion. Implications for the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021


  • Counseling
  • Graduate
  • Mental health
  • STEM
  • Women of color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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