Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Arthur Hernandez


Alfredo Ortiz


Raul Zendejas


Research Focus. In post-baccalaureate education, Black males have historically and continuously been underrepresented and misrepresented; however, this research was focused on abstracting the positive characteristics that were similar among successful post-baccalaureate Black male graduates. My research looked at the post-baccalaureate attainment of 16 Black male participants in a nuanced way by pinpointing the common positive attributes of the successful scholars. Specifically, I explored the importance of informing educators about necessary tools that contributed to the success of Black males in graduate school. The goal of my study was to target policymakers in education, present and future researchers, practitioners, and faculty who can help better serve Black males in graduate school and beyond. Research Methods. This complex story came to life by listening to and examining the stories of Black males through Narrative Inquiry. As the study progressed, I became completely immersed in the research by incorporating my personal experiences and emotions in graduate education. In doing so, I brought the reader closer to the subculture of the Black male experience in graduate school by using autoethnography as a research methodology, along with Narrative Inquiry. These qualitative methods allowed me to act as the study's researcher, subject, and narrator all at the same time. Autoethnography involved a great deal of reflection, introspection, and self-analysis, which aided in bringing validity to my study as well. In terms of specific methods, I used 60 200-minute semi-structured interviews via Google Meet, gathered written personal philosophy statements, and implemented a descriptive survey to triangulate data. I complemented this by adding in my own ethnographic accounts to dialogue with the experience of the participants. Research Results/Findings. The study’s findings provided a counterpoint to deficit-oriented research on Black males in graduate school. The study found 10 characterizations and three major themes that formed the creation of the Successful Black Males Post-Baccalaureate Degree (SBMPD) model. Another interesting aspect of the study was discovering connections between my own experience and those of the majority of the 16 participants. The findings from the study discussed the transformation of the SBMPD model into the emerging Furlow Engagement and Endurance Theory, what it means, how it works, and the interpretations of the new phases that the model and theory went through. I also presented important ways in which the theory should be implemented at the graduate levels. Conclusions from Research. This research provided insights into why it was important to focus on the positive imagery of Black males in graduate education, which can be more expressively captured through narratives of personal experiences. The benefits of this study will support an increase in the number of Black males in graduate school by providing institutions and students a model of tools that will support Black males in completing their degree with success. Evidence from the study encourages (a) everyone to find a group of people with whom they feel comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities, (b) the importance of embracing that the struggle has given courage to persist, and (c) the value of finding a way to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Each of these men shared their knowledge and experiences with this study in the hopes of positively influencing the lives of future Black men pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees. Within ourselves as Black students and as educators, there is a wealth of meaning, knowledge, and understanding about what contributes to Black male success in graduate school. The sector of higher education must be the trailblazers to set the standard to incorporate all aspects of the Black male in education while, above all, allowing one to be true to oneself and to one’s own truth. Although words are lovely, it is time to act with intention. The actions of institutions, faculty, key stakeholders, and students will directly be affected by the power of this truth and knowledge within these research findings.