Bachelor of Arts
Jennifer Lucko, PhD and Benjamin Rosenberg, PhD
Underrepresented youth (Latino, Black, Pacific Islander, and Native American) face challenges in school enrollment/completion and often lack feelings of belonging in educational and social institutions. One specific group of underrepresented youth who face unique struggles is unaccompanied youth. Mentoring, a non-parental relationship between a young person and someone who supports and guides youth, has been found to result in better well-being and health in adolescents and potentially lead to higher self-worth and better academic performance. In order to fill a gap in the literature examining the effects of mentoring on underrepresented youth and specifically unaccompanied youth, I conducted a mixed-methods study, including both quantitative and qualitative data.
For the quantitative data, a survey was distributed using five measuring tools that evaluated the correlation between having mentoring experience during adolescence and overall well-being, academic success, academic-self efficacy, and resiliency. Data consisted of 33 participants who were over the age of 18, varied in ethnicity and gender, and who have had previous mentorship experience. Due to a small sample size, represented and underrepresented individuals were included in the results. The results showed that a strong mentoring relationship did not positively influence well-being, resiliency, and academic success, but did positively influence academic self-efficacy. For the qualitative data, I interviewed 3 mentors to explore the ways in which mentoring helps support unaccompanied youth overcome barriers and examine how the mentoring process also affects the mentors themselves. Qualitative research findings suggest that the development of trust allows mentors to provide improved support and foster an increased sense of belonging with their mentees. This research is important to help train future mentors and strengthen mentoring programs for under-served youth.