An Intrinsic Case Study of Virginia Tech's George Washington Carver Assistantship Program: Fostering Student Success Through Culturally Engaging Campus Environments

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Virginia Tech


The pursuit of underrepresented and underserved graduate students who attend Predominantly White Institutions to pursue disciplines and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Despite the increase in the number of underrepresented minorities in graduate school, underrepresented and underserved graduate students in STEM disciplines are encountering experiences that directly affect their graduate matriculation. This study took a case study approach to investigate the Virginia Tech George Washington Carver Assistantship Program's impact on supporting underrepresented and underserved graduate students in STEM disciplines and to assess further the extent to which their participation in this support program influences their academic and career success. Given the substantial financial resources allocated to the program and the annual student enrollment, a comprehensive case study needed to be conducted to gain deeper insight into the Carver program and the stakeholders that engaged with the program to enhance future programming and sustainability. It was essential to assess the Carver program's effectiveness in promoting student success and addressing the factors that impact underrepresented and underserved graduate students in STEM fields. Triangulation is used in this study to inform and strengthen the research findings from past program scholars, current scholars, and faculty. The Carver program is not generalizable to other programs, students, and faculty because the experiences are specific to the participants in this study. The findings illustrate that the evolution program's evolution cultivates a culturally engaging culture and climate to foster graduate student success.



agriculture, STEM, student success, graduate education, underrepresented, underserved populations