Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara J. Williams


The purpose of this study was to evaluate a support program for first-generation college students. A qualitative study was conducted evaluating the Young Scholars Program from the perspectives of program participants. Data was collected through interviews with eight current and former program participants. The following research questions informed this study: 1. How do students perceive the program to be impacting their academic experience? 2. How do students perceive the program to be impacting their social experience? 3. How do students perceive the program to be impacting their career development experience? Through analysis of the data, three major themes emerged: Relationships, Engagement, and Opportunities. Students discussed how relationships with family members have been impacted during their college experience, as well as the positive impact their involvement in the program has had on their ability to develop relationships with peers and program staff. Students also reported increased engagement with their college experience on a number of levels due to their involvement in the program. Additionally, students spoke about being grateful for the opportunity to be in the program and for the support they receive and the positive impact this has had on their experiences, as well as the opportunities that developed as a result of their involvement in the program. This evaluation provides insight into how this program is positively impacting students’ academic, social, and career development experiences while in college, as well as assisting in providing direction for the future of the program.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2016 Aaron Krueger.

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