The Role of Mentoring in Promoting Underrepresented Students’ Academic Success across 4 Years of College
Noelle Hurd

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Virginia

Primary Discipline

The proposed project seeks to better understand how mentors may facilitate academic success among underrepresented students across four years of college. Employing a sample of first-generation college students, students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, the proposed project aims to examine whether relationships with natural mentors contribute to students’ academic success via increments in students’ sense of school belonging, academic identity, and self-regulated learning strategies across their first through fourth years of college. In addition, the proposed project will investigate whether the provision of specific types of support determines the level of influence these relationships have on students’ academic outcomes. Lastly, the proposed project will examine whether the role of the natural mentor in students’ lives moderates the associations between types of support provided and students’ academic outcomes. The information gleaned from this project will be used to inform institutional policies and practices aimed at fostering the academic success of underrepresented students. In particular, findings from this project will inform best practices of college-based mentoring programs targeting underrepresented students. In addition, findings of the proposed project may underscore the significance of informal mentoring relationships in promoting students’ academic success and suggest ways to capitalize on these relationships.
About Noelle Hurd
Noelle Hurd is an assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Psychology. She earned both her doctorate in psychology and MPH from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on factors that promote more positive psychosocial outcomes among marginalized adolescents. She is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive relationships with non-parental adults. In addition to exploring the role of supportive relationships in contributing to youth development, she also investigates the role of broader contextual factors (e.g., neighborhood characteristics) in shaping youth outcomes. Her work has been published in a variety of outlets including the American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Child Development, The Journal of Early Adolescence, and Developmental Psychology.

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