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Abstract

Background: Mentorship is a critical aspect of the professional development of the doctoral student who wishes to pursue a role in higher education. Continued understanding is needed regarding the needs of the doctoral student when it comes to mentorship. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe the needs of a doctoral student from their mentoring relationships, as they work towards their terminal degree. Methods: This is a descriptive, phenomenological qualitative research study within universities that offer doctoral education. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted using Zoom video conference technology. Each interview, after transcribed, was analyzed following the step-wise approach of a phenomenological study. Credibility was established by 1) research triangulation, 2) bracketing/reflexivity, and 3) peer review. Results: Twelve doctoral students (7 females, 5 males) who were enrolled in doctoral programs with a focus on allied health or exercise science completed the Zoom interviews. Our participants were an average age of 28 3 years, and all twelve had graduate assistantship positions in association with their doctoral programs. Three main themes materialized from the data analyses including 1) guided autonomy, 2) humanistic nature, and 3) professional advocate. Doctoral students want guidance to develop the technical skills necessary for success by providing opportunities to perform with the chance to gain feedback. Mentors were identified as needing to demonstrate humanistic qualities that were rooted in being interpersonal. The importance of a mentor serving as a professional advocate to help the student grow and develop as a professional was also discussed. Conclusions: Doctoral students need their mentors to demonstrate both personal and professional attributes in the mentor relationship. Specifically, they are looking for guidance and feedback through independent learning, as well as a mentor who values them, is relatable, and is invested in their development as a professional.

Author Bio(s)

Stephanie M. Singe, PhD, ATC, FNATA* is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut.

Lauren Sheldon, MS, ATC* is graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer.

Kelsey M. Rynkiewicz, MS, MSHA, ATC, NREMT* is graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer.

Ciara Manning* is master's student in the Department of Kinesiology.

Erica M. Filep, MSEd, LAT, ATC* is graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer.

Emma Zuk, MS, ATC*is graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer.

Caitlin B. Hargrave, LAT, ATC* is master's student in the Department of Kinesiology and a certified athletic trainer.

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