Autumn Divas: Women of Color Who Achieved Doctorate Degrees After Age 50

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Urban Social Work

Publication Date


Date Added



The Autumn Divas study objective was to examine the lived experiences of women of color who achieved doctoral degrees after the age of 50. This study used qualitative methods to reflect the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the participants; the strengths they had in common, the support of family and friends, and the personal, professional, and financial challenges they faced in their respective journeys. This phenomenological study described the meaning of the experience for the participants, as they matriculated through their doctoral programs, explored in three focus group sessions, with nine participants. Results showed that they experienced similar journeys, which led to the advancement of their personal growth, and sought to motivate other women of color. Most participant's pursuit of a doctorate at this time in their lives was a means of self-fulfillment and empowerment. In conclusion, the participants had deferred this goal, but were receptive to new challenges and perspectives, and validated each other's stories in the focus group discussions. Most had a message for the sisters coming behind them: pursue your dreams; make the investment in yourself; be a source of support and wisdom for each other; and contribute to uplifting your community.




Social Work