Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Andrew Pearl

Second Advisor

Katherine Rose Adams

Third Advisor

Sheri Hardee


The purpose of this research was to explore the concept of growth versus fixed mindsets in relation to Oscar Lewis’s (1966) theory of The Culture of Poverty. Particularly, the research served to investigate whether evidence of a fixed mindset was present within a selected cohort of Upward Bound and McNair Scholars participants, and, if so, whether or not these outlooks may have improved through participation in the TRIO programs. A qualitative research design was utilized, with program participants queried via electronic surveys, as well as through focus groups, with prompts based on Dweck’s (1999) Implicit Theories of Intelligence scale. The students were surveyed at two points during program participation, with focus group sessions occurring after the time of the second survey. Data were collected and compared to determine whether a shift in participant growth mindset occurred during program participation, and, if so, what factors may have contributed to the shift in growth mindset.