Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Phil Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Tamerin Capellino

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Cook

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pat White


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to shed light on former teen mothers who have “beaten the odds” by achieving a master’s degree or higher. It sought to reveal and understand what the external and internal factors are which lead to these women pursing higher education.

Methodology: The methodology of this study is a case study which explored these factors through the personal stories of former teen mothers. The study revealed the commonalities among these women.

Findings: The findings of the study determined Data collection and analysis resulted in four findings in the lived story of the 13 selected participants. The findings included: (1) Personal determination (2) Significant life event (3) Support Systems (4) Perseverance.

Conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the study indicated many variances from each Participant’s lived story. The ultimate indicator resulting in a former teen mother’s achievement of a master’s degree or higher derived from within her. The commonalities of the following themes were profound: reliance on self to reach goals, influencers are most likely educators and people who have personal relationships with the women (such as family), external motivators were primarily life circumstances such as financial status, internal motivators were manifested in drive to overcome barriers and judgment.

Recommendations: The recommendations for future research included expansion of a long-term phenomenological study of former teen mothers who have achieved a master’s degree or higher to include continued research organizational programs. In addition, it is recommended this study expand to include former teen fathers and the children of former teen mothers.