Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

George, Casey

Committee Member

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Member

Rivers, Ishwanzya

Committee Member

Buckley, Jessica

Author's Keywords

TRIO; TRIO SSS; TRIO student support services; social cognitive career theory; FGCS


This qualitative study aimed to examine the impact of the TRIO SSS Program in increasing the academic preparedness, graduation rates, and personal development of first-generation college students. Specifically, the study examined how TRIO SSS affected students’ self-efficacy through academic performance and personal development during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theoretical lens for this study was the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) in which Lent et al. (1994) presented the SCCT as a particularly appropriate framework for those in the early stages of exploring and preparing for careers. A case study methodology, specifically an intrinsic case study, was utilized to investigate the research questions. The data from the TRIO SSS participants was collected through virtual interviews; the interview questions were semi-structured and open-ended. The participants for this research were selected from TRIO SSS students at the University of Louisville (U of L) who were enrolled between the 2017 school year and he 2021 school year. The research used a thematic analysis approach to dissect the data. The data provided evidence to support Lent et al.’s (1994) framework of SCCT as a framework that looked at how self-efficacy influenced the students’ academic preparedness and personal development. The main takeaway was that TRIO SSS career development, advising, and planning, specifically advisors, substantially influenced TRIO SSS students. Recommendations for future research included looking at how TRIO SSS first-generation students, low-income students, or students with disabilities, and students’ mental health were impacted.