Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.


Christel Kesler

Second Advisor

Annie Hikido


This study aims to understand how students of color navigate feelings of competition in the pre-medical (“pre-med”) track at a small liberal arts college. I argue that there are differences in navigational strategies by race, socioeconomic status (SES), and gender. Respondents in my sample (9 women and 6 men) were interviewed for 30 to 60 minutes about their relationships with fellow pre-med students, mentors, alumni, advisors, and professors. The primary findings of this project were that students who are more competitive dominate the culture among pre-med students; less competitive individuals persist through the pre-med track by forming study groups with more collaborative students, cultivating relationships with older students and professors, and gaining hands-on experience through lab work. The extent to which a pre-med student uses these strategies is influenced by their race, SES, and gender. I argue that despite barriers such as marginalization and lack of representation on campus at large, students of color are agents of their pursuits in completing pre-med requirements and develop strategies to succeed against the odds.


sociology, networking