Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Merry L. Staulters, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jocelyn Manigo, Ph.D.


Tutoring, an academic support offered by colleges to their students, has been shown to increase academic grades (Allen & Chavkin, 2004; Fryer & Howard-Novack, 2020; Nelson-Royes, 2013), improve attitudes toward school (Arco-Tirado, 2020; Elbulok-Charcape et al., 2019; Nadia et al., 2023), and support retention (Primary Research Group, 2020). Some of these benefits can be traced to the individualized attention and flexibility that tutoring offers (Chin et al., 2011; Nadia et al., 2023). However, this research lacks detailed, qualitative data that focuses on how students experience tutoring. In addition to a lack of attention to lived experiences, in general, there is even less research that considers the impacts of gender on one’s tutoring experiences. Feminist phenomenology is a field of inquiry that centralizes gender because it is crucial to all of one’s experiences (Shabot & Landry, 2018). Using feminist phenomenology to explore the experiences of female-identifying support students in mid-Atlantic colleges and universities. The five participants engaged in interviews and journal entries. After conducting two rounds of coding, an initial deductive and subsequent inductive round, several themes were developed: there is a complex interplay of factors affecting feelings of safety among support students, environments that encourage use of supports destigmatize tutoring, collaboration produces positive learning outcomes, tutor as a knowledgeable resource, and limited integration of the body into learning. These themes highlight some of the areas that tutoring organizations can focus on to better the experience of their female-identifying students. Additionally, this area of inquiry opens the doors to more gender-focused research in supplemental education spaces.