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Understanding and identifying the mentoring approaches of African-American mentors may shed light on practices that can be implemented in higher education to help increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) graduates. This exploratory research seeks to identify the mentoring approaches that African-American mentors use to help their African-American undergraduate protégés persist and succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. Multiple interviews were conducted with ten African-American mentors from academia, government, and industry/non-profit sectors. Using an interpretivist lens, interview transcripts were thematically coded and analyzed to produce the most emergent themes about mentoring approaches. Findings indicate mentors use familial, guidance and resource acquisition, and empathetic mentoring approaches. These approaches promote the development of protégés’ sense of community and STEM identities to support student persistence. The intent of this study is to establish a foundation for future research to examine and identify the characteristics of mentoring practices and approaches that may assist URMs pursuing STEM degrees.
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