Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

James N. Gilmore

Committee Member

Ashley McKenzie

Committee Member

Rhondda Thomas


College is a time when students are traditionally away from home in the hopes of not only securing a better future through higher education but have the ability to shape who they are as individuals. As Predominately White Institutions serve few minority students, this can prove to be challenging for them as they do not fit into the majority racial group. This thesis investigates how Black students at a PWI utilize the mobile app, GroupMe, as a method of connecting and networking within their racial community. Through focus groups and individual interviews, this study found that Black students use digital space to gatekeep their culture, express vivid emotions, find community, and form self-identities. This thesis project demonstrates how a marginalized group of students used a common, everyday app as their “home on the phone.”



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