Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Ferdinand Rivera


autoethnography, Black, education, feminist, intersectionality, joy

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


This dissertation examines the intersections of race, class, and gender of a Black woman as an educational leader and doctoral student. Through autoethnography, I explore self-meaning in cultural contexts and focus on how my positionality contributes to my attempts to find joy in academe. Chapter I discusses the gender and racial gaps in the American professoriate and introduces three research questions. Chapter II interprets extant literature and identifies a conceptual framework that utilizes Black feminist thought, critical race feminism, intersectionality theory, and multicultural feminist perspectives to analyze my lived experiences. Chapter III outlines the research methodology of autoethnography to address each research question. Chapter IV provides findings from my autoethnographic data, which include the following: experiences of loss, grief, collective pain, racial microaggressions, and experiences of joy: rest, finding community, spirituality, and making room for anger. A collection of memos, life notes, voice recordings, poetry, and documents are analyzed in context with the public experiences Black women faculty members have shared on social media through Twitter. Chapter V provides discussion, conclusion, and suggestions for educational leaders. At the very least, this autoethnography opens a window to learning from the transformative experiences of a Black woman in educational leadership.