Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Katalin Szelenyi

Second Advisor

Tara L. Parker

Third Advisor

Alyssa Rockenbach


The purpose of this study is to examine how LGBTQ+ resources, services, and experiences at colleges and universities shape students’ sexual identity development experience. Relevant and relatable to the experience of students navigating their sexual identity development. research is conclusive in establishing positive links between students’ involvement in cultural campus activities, cultural student organizations, or cultural safe space and their cultural, racial, or ethnic identity development. This narrative inquiry study seeks to investigate whether the same may be true for students navigating their sexual identity development journeys during college who are engaging with formal LGBTQ+ resources and services, as well as with informal opportunities for queer community and safe experiences. Approaching this problem from the inverse perspective of negative campus climate, this study instead seeks to examine the proposed educational problem by listening to the stories of students who intentionally sought a college environment they perceived to be supportive and inclusive of LGBTQ+ students. The central question guiding this study is: How are students’ experiences of sexual identity development shaped during college in the context their engagement with LGBTQ+ resources, supports, and experiences on their college campuses?


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.