Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Antonio Vallone, M.F.A.


Mentoring relationships can play important roles in students' progress through their degree program and the decisions they make in their future lives. This phenomenological study examines the mentoring relationships of four women in an attempt to find answers to what mentoring actually means and what drives mentoring relationships, how those relationships affect both mentor and mentee in their lives, and the progression from mentee to mentor. It was guided by a critical feminist framework, drawing from current feminist theories as well as from Freire's critical pedagogy. Each mentor's and mentees' autobiographical rendering of their experience as a mentee and a mentor and various interviews are incorporated to give a more comprehensive idea of the mentoring relationships and the mentoring experiences. Using current mentoring literature, the themes which emerged from the stories are discussed including igniting shared passions, finding the road to (self)empowerment, extending relationships beyond the classroom, claiming positions of leadership, becoming an agent of change, and moving from mentoring relationships to friendships. Finally, implications for composition teachers, women's studies teachers, and scholars of mentoring are discussed. The study also outlines areas for future research.