Angela Wellman, Ph.D. is a 2023 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Angela Wellman at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Chila Thomas, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Chila Thomas, Ph.D., Committee Member


first-generation, higher education, student affairs, supervision, leadership, concept mapping

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Publication Date



As first-generation students enter the workforce and traverse through their careers, their work supervisors are solidly positioned to positively influence their experiences. There is very little literature to be found that addresses the professional experiences of first-generation professionals in relation to their supervisors. The purpose of this exploratory study was to learn, directly from first-generation professionals working in higher education, what they believe they need from their supervisors to support their well-being and success. This research also sought to discover how important participants thought that each need statement was, as well to gain insight to what extent the identified needs are being met. This study utilized a web-based concept mapping methodology that employed both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. The findings of this study indicate that first-generation professionals have identified six need areas that supervisors can address to support their well-being and success. These are (a) Professional Growth and Development; (b) Institutional Onboarding; (c) Guidance and Understanding; (d) Communication and Feedback; (e) Humanity; and (f) Cultural Intelligence. This study contributes to the field of practice in higher education because it has empowered first-generation professionals to identify their unique needs specific to supervision. Equally important, garnering this information from first-generation professionals better informs supervisors on what this population needs, and offers suggestions on how these needs can be met. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Angela R. Wellman

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-8952-5481

Angie Wellman is the Director of Belonging and Education for Student Life at The Ohio State University. In this role, she serves as a thought-partner with department colleagues on staff-focused belonging, inclusion and equity-minded initiatives, working to ensure that inclusion and equity are imbedded in our collective work. Angie facilitates community building and educational opportunities scaffolded to continuously develop team members’ capacity to effectively relate, work and lead across identity, cultures, and experiences. Additionally, she supports Student Life managers and supervisors in advancing a culture in which students and staff feel valued, included, and affirmed as integral parts of the university.

A licensed professional clinical counselor, Angie is also a lecturer in the College of Social Work and College of Education & Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Before her work at Ohio State, Angie held the position of Executive Director at Kaleidoscope Youth Center. Prior to this, she led programming efforts at other non-profit organizations including Stonewall Columbus, Oriana House and an Akron-area YMCA.

Angie is a proud first-generation college graduate who earned her bachelor's degree from Kent State University, a Master of Science degree from the University of Dayton and a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. An experienced scholar-practitioner, Angie’s ongoing research interests are in the cultivation of individual self-efficacy, institutional access, and organizational development.