Ragia Hassan, a Curriculum and Instruction doctoral candidate, and Crystal Machado from the Department of Professional Studies in Education presented a paper titled “The Paradox of International Doctoral Student Mothering Across Borders During a Pandemic: Contented or Discontented?” at the International Association of Maternal Action +Scholarship on March 12, 2023.


Juggling doctoral coursework, teaching, and parenting during a pandemic is very challenging. These challenges are magnified when learners are international students who live and work in a different timezone, with limited connectivity and limited access to university-provided resources. As part of a larger qualitative study, this presentation describes how we used Bridges’ Transition Model for Change (2009) and Goode’s Theory of Role Strain (1960) to qualitatively study stressors and pleasures international doctoral-student mothers experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study findings revealed variability in the experience that evoked contentment and discontentment, as well as variability in the coping strategies they used to face the challenges. Our findings have implications for faculty, administrators, and staff who work with doctoral students.