An Education Scholar and a Tightrope Walker: Reflexivity and Self-Discovery through the Research on How African American Women Navigate the Contested Spaces of Predominately White Colleges and Universities


  • Christina S. Haynes Penn State University



African American women, Black feminist geography, academic achievement, higher education, predominantly white institutions


Chronicling my research on academically successful Black women attending predominately white institutions (PWIs), I reflect upon the anxiety, anger, and disillusionment that I personally experienced in graduate school. I discovered while completing the dissertation that other Black women at PWIs navigate similar challenges. Using narrative inquiry, I explore how this research program developed and how the high-achieving women interviewed shaped my ideas about gender, race, and belongingness and the complexity of coping with racism. I wish for other women of color to realize they are not alone in their frustrations; I hope my research helps these women understand that their presence is both needed and valued in the academy.

Author Biography

Christina S. Haynes, Penn State University

Christina S. Haynes is a research faculty in the department of African American Studies


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How to Cite

Haynes, C. S. (2022). An Education Scholar and a Tightrope Walker: Reflexivity and Self-Discovery through the Research on How African American Women Navigate the Contested Spaces of Predominately White Colleges and Universities. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 24(2), 17–37.



Articles (Peer-reviewed)