Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly


The purpose of this phenomenological focus-group study was to gain insight into perceptions of persistence factors among successful Black male college students who major in the rigorous STEM field majors, at a 4-year college. Nine high-achieving Black male STEM majors reported that when it comes to academic persistence, they: (a) have an intrinsic motivation to succeed, which was instilled by their parents; (b) credited family or church influence in helping them to excel in academics; (c) believed that leadership requires certain characteristics that can be acquired through leadership training, and this can assist with persistence and future academic/career aspirations; (d) believed that it is important to persist because of academic and professional reasons; (e) believed that having supportive K-12 teachers and/or learning environment(s) helped them to persist in college; and (f) believed that employment opportunities, networking with peers and faculty for present and future goals, and positive peer pressure were all motivating factors in their drive to successfully persist. Black male self-identification as a “student leader” and leadership development appear to help facilitate black male persistence. This area of research continues to be limited in scope. More studies are needed to confirm if leadership engagement activities can contribute to their increased persistence.

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