Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-7-2021


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Educational Studies (General Education)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gretchen Givens Generett

Committee Member

Amy Olson

Committee Member

Elizabeth Winter


NCAA, rowing, collegiate, equity, higher education, narrative, storytelling


Collegiate athletics has the remarkable ability to serve as a catalyst for positive and widespread social change and identity formation. For Black women, the formation of identity comes with the added intersections of race and gender in addition to sport. Collegiate rowing is one of the most heavily scholarshipped sports coming out of the passing of Title IX legislation in 1972 and requires no previous rowing experience for participation (Garran, 2012). Despite the opportunity for rowing to serve as an access point for innumerable young athletes to obtain financial and social support through a pathway to higher education, there remains very little representation from Black females (NCAA, 2019). This dissertation combines critical race theory (CRT) and discourse analysis to create a critical race discourse analysis (CRDA) of the narrative experiences of four Black women rowing for a predominantly White institution (PWI) in the Northeastern region of the United States. Through a series of four athlete-led storytelling circles, the author (and coach of the athletes) qualitatively coded the participants’ experiences as Black female rowers into four overarching themes: constructing and deconstructing race and racism in White spaces, code-switching, advocacy, and belonging. At the conclusion of the four storytelling circles, the athletes elected to host a fifth storytelling circle with myself as the researcher where they could learn more about my own experiences and story to better understand how our collective identities intersect within our rowing program. What came out of our collective discourse is two proposed designs for action that begin to address issues of inclusion and opportunity in collegiate rowing.