Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2018

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The purpose of my study was to understand who my students are authentically and discover what keeps them from being authentic within the workplace. I focused on culturally minoritized students in the context of professional expectations and intersecting identities. The research questions that guided my study are: How do I help students be authentic in their role as culturally minoritized employees at a multicultural center? What does authenticity look like for the students I work with, and where do they find it most difficult to express their most authentic selves within the United Front Multicultural Center? What interventions and/or practices best support the students and how can our center institutionalize those practices? Interviews, focus groups, surveys, journals entries, and reflections were used to interact with participants of the study. Findings suggest students struggle with bringing pieces of themselves to their role as a student employee due to a number of factors. These factors include the pressures from their peers, the lack of connection to and with some professional staff members, and the institutional culture that centers certain identities and schools of thought while actively marginalizing those of the participants. In partnership with the participants’ recommendations for a restorative justice circle, safe space to dialogue, opportunities to connect with team members in meaningful ways, and climate surveys for the student employees in the division of student affairs were created and data informed.