Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joanne Belknap

Second Advisor

Alphonse Keasley

Third Advisor

Robert Regoli


This thesis investigates the experiences of a group of students who are underrepresented within academia - degree seeking undergraduates that identify as being first generation and/or low income and/or students of color who are enrolled in a predominantly white four year institution of higher education. Sixty-two students completed online survey questionnaires and eight participated in semi-structured interviews. Through the application of W. E. B. Du Bois' concepts of the second-sight, double consciousness, the color-line, and the color-bar as well as the metaphor of the Veil, insights into Reiland Rabaka's lifeworlds and lifestruggles of underrepresented students are attained. Of pertinent interest is that some of the interviewed students appear to be developing early stages of double consciousness. Listening to and heeding the voices of students who are underrepresented may lead to more unveilings as well as substantive Du Boisian advancements and changes within academia.