While research demonstrates that family support is essential for doctoral students, research detailing institutional efforts to involve families is limited. We developed the GAIN Scholars program, consisting of two 3-week-long boot camps for incoming first-generation and historically marginalized doctoral students. Quantitative data were collected from 38 doctoral students in the GAIN Scholars program (n = 22) and the control (n = 16). One key component of this program was family support for doctoral students. Family members (n = 15) were invited to the opening ceremony, a day of programming, and online activities. Pre- and post-test measures indicate participants had a greater ability to identify resources, a greater ability to identify important life values as they impact resource identification decision-making, and a greater ability to identify complex environments and means for situational adaption, suggesting the program increased doctoral students’ skills related to navigating environments, resources, and decision-making. Qualitative findings from doctoral students and their family members offered praise for the program and appreciation for the support opportunities. These results indicate that programs such as this—that foster connections among graduate students and their families—can be potentially beneficial in helping graduate students not only stay but thrive in their programs.



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