Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Matthew D. Davis Ph.D.


Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.

Thomassina Hassler, Ph.D.

Carl Hoagland, Ph.D.

Tom Hoerr, Ph.D.


Adolescent girls face social and identity issues as they transition into adulthood and after-school programs are one venue that allows adults to help students deal with the difficulties encountered. This is a qualitative case study focused on the impact the SISTERS Club, an after-school program, had on a diverse group of middle school female students over the course of a five year period, from 2001 to 2006. This study described the impact on identity development, multicultural relationships, and the long-term impact of the after-school program on the female adolescents interviewed.

I investigated the racial, social, and cultural barriers that impacted the development of adolescent girls and how a strong after-school program brought about positive identity growth and feelings of “belonging” to a gender specific group. I began by investigating the social constructs of gender and race that are prevalent to adolescent girls. I also investigated the impact of mentoring and service learning on the identity development of participants. Finally, I investigated the social and cultural impact the SISTERS Club program had on the girls involved and how this type of program can be utilized in other urban communities.

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