Graduate Program

College Student Affairs with Higher Ed/Community College Option

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Thesis Director

Jon K. Coleman

Thesis Committee Member

Lynette Drake

Thesis Committee Member

Beth Gillespie


Using qualitative research methodology, factors and barriers influence leadership role attainment for collegiate women were explored and examined. The study used semi-structured interviews with four participants to look at factors influencing leadership attainment and why women decide to lead. The researcher identified factor before and after college that impacted a women’s decisions to lead, and her ability to attain a role. Challenges and barriers that women face in their leadership role attainment were also found. Overall, the research found that due to barriers and challenges women struggle to lead authentically, and that they see leadership as way to contribute to a greater good in society. The confidence that is given to a woman through family and outside influences is also paramount in their belief that they can attain a leadership role. Finally, recommendations for student affairs professionals, women in leadership positions, and future research were made based on research findings.