Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021
Women students of color (WSOC) have shared three primary concerns that influence their discomfort and lack of belonging on campus: 1) feeling like they are always being watched and unsure if it is because of their gender or race or both, 2) constantly being put in a position to educate their White peers on issues related to difference, and 3) feeling pressure to represent their racial group in an empowering manner (Esposito, 2011). While it is widely recognized that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a great impact on people worldwide, especially those within marginalized populations, it is unknown how WSOC are experiencing higher education at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, through the present qualitative study, we seek to answer the question, “How are WSOC experiencing higher education at a PWI during the COVID-19 pandemic?” This project aims to amplify the voices of WSOC through photovoice, a qualitative research methodology. Photovoice allows participants to document, reflect, and share their experiences through photographs. The photographs taken by the participants will represent their student pandemic experience. After photographs are taken, the student researchers, who all identify as WSOC, will conduct semi-structured virtual interviews with the participants to understand how the photos represent the participants’ student pandemic experience. The interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. After the transcripts are decoded and member-checked by the participants as a trustworthy measure, all researchers will analyze the data by reading, coding, and thematizing the data. For the purpose of presenting results, the student researchers will select participant images and short narrative image descriptions to convey the final research themes. The presentation will conclude with suggestions for how higher education administrators can use the results to better support women students of color during pandemics.