Publication Date

Summer 8-9-2021

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


In the fall of 2019, institutionalized data reported that Asian American undergraduate students had a lower sense of belonging at the University of San Diego (USD) in comparison to white peers. This action research paper explores the needs and experiences of the Asian American undergraduate student population at USD— a predominantly white, private, religious-based institution. This research is centered around the question, “How can Student Affairs professionals better understand and support Asian American undergraduate students and their sense of belonging at a predominantly White institution?” Through ten semi-structured interviews and one community focus group, participating students associated their sense of belonging on campus with community, authenticity, and feelings of safety— socially, emotionally, and physically. Additionally, their stories included personal experiences of culture shock, code-switching, the crucial role that faculty and multicultural-based student organizations play in fostering Asian American students’ sense of belonging, and addressing the politics of belonging.


A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my research process. I appreciate you all so much!