Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Glenda Walden, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Matthew Brown, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ben Kirshner, Ph.D.


This exploratory study looks at the experiences of past students and current staff members of the academic support program Bold Achievers. Programs such as Bold Achievers seek to remediate gaps in educational attainment between students of different social classes across the United States. The perspectives of participants regarding their experiences in the program and beyond were explored through a semi-structured interview design. Themes that emerged from the interviews included the importance of exposure to and support for different academic, social and recreational experiences. Other important themes drew attention to the ways in which student beliefs, felt sense of obligation, and expectations with regard to academic success were influenced by significant relationships within the organization to other students and staff members. As these relationships were seen as key by both staff and students to student success, the role of longevity in programming that follows a student throughout primary and secondary education with remarkable consistency in staff is pointed to as an important component to achieving stated outcomes for these programs.