Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Document Type



Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a college-based travel program in which students spend their traditional spring break vacation traveling to a new domestic or international city to complete a service-learning project such as community restoration in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. As a result of participating in Alternative Spring Break, students gain invaluable experiences and transferable skills that can be applied to their academic and career goals. In this dissertation, the specific transferable skill explored is emotional intelligence.

The purpose of this dissertation is to illuminate the lived experiences of Black women who have participated in a college-based travel program and how their participation fosters the development of emotional intelligence. This study focuses on Black women because there is minimal research available to support this particular student population with intentional strategies regarding their academic and social integration. Interviews with Black women enrolled at Howard University (HU), a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) who participated in a Spring 2019 ASB trip serve as the primary source of data for this study. And the HU ASB program was selected because of its 25-year history and robust site selection

The researcher implemented an instrumental case study design, focusing on the relationship between Black women and their lived experiences during an Alternative Spring Break trip and how these students developed emotional intelligence. Illustrative quotes from participants will highlight the relevance of the data collected and the impact ASB has on Black women. Additionally, implications for higher education practice, policy and research are presented.

Committee Chair

Clayton, Ashley