Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Education for Social Justice

Dissertation Committee

Sarina Chugani Molina, EdD, Chair; C. Bobbi Hansen, EdD, Member; David Preston, PhD, Member


first-generation college students, Latinx, community cultural wealth, Latine Critical Theory, mentorship, language other than English, English Language Learners


U.S. Census Bureau Report (2020c) showed Hispanic students constituted 18.5% of the U.S. population, 36% attended higher education and only 14% completed postsecondary education. Research has shown Hispanic, specifically Latinx, students faced barriers in accessing higher education’s hidden curriculum, compounded by deficit beliefs about their language, culture, and lack of family involvement (Kiyama, 2018; C. Martinez & Mendoza, 2020). Additionally, first-generation college students require college readiness skills, including specialized knowledge about college and measurable and immeasurable skills shown to support student success in college (Chlup et al., 2018; Duncheon, 2021; Morley et al., 2021). Despite secondary school supports like college and career centers and summer transition programs, gate-keeping barriers have continued to inhibit Latinx students from obtaining capital needed to navigate higher education (Cunha et al., 2018; Howard & Sharpe, 2019; C. Martinez & Mendoza, 2020; Yasuike, 2019). This qualitative case study, conducted in a secondary school on the central coast of California, examined support systems for aspiring first-generation Latinx college students (Bhattacharya, 2017; Fusch et al., 2017). Guided by Latine critical theory (Delgado Bernal, 2002; Delgado & Stefancic, 2017) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005), this study analyzed students, staff, and faculty experiences as they reflected on support systems aimed at facilitating transition of Latinx students to higher education. Data analysis revealed valuable insights into support systems for aspiring first-generation Latinx college students and highlights the need for further research and implementation of targeted interventions to ensure students have equitable access to higher education.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Learning and Teaching