School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Joy M. Mwendwa


persistence, doctoral student, motherhood, COVID-19 pandemic, work-life-family-academic balance, gender inequity


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing gender inequities in work and academia and further strained working doctoral student mothers struggling to balance multiple roles. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenology was to describe how working mothers of children under the age of 12 persisting in the final year of a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program-accredited counselor education and supervision doctoral program described their lived experiences moving through the COVID-19 pandemic. The central research question explored how participants described what the COVID-19 pandemic has been like for them as they moved in, moved through, and moved out of the transition from both academia and the pandemic. Semistructured interviews were used for data collection, and data were analyzed and coded for themes based on Schlossberg’s (1981) transition model. Findings indicated four primary themes of academic motherhood, support, adaptive response, and socio-cultural-political-spiritual awareness, which were interwoven across all three phases of the pandemic transition. Discussion includes confirmation and expansion of previous literature, implications for social change, recommendations for action, limitations, and recommendations for further study.

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