Educational Uplift along the US-Mexico Border: How Students, Families, and Educators Cultivate a College-Going Culture in Contested Terrain
Description: Using critical race theory and LatCrit as conceptual frameworks, I conducted a qualitative instrumental case study of a cadre of self-identified Mexican-American and Hispanic college students who bring college knowledge, goodwill, and aid to their border town communities. The purpose of this study was to explore how college knowledge and other forms of academic capital are transmitted and co-constructed in the contested terrain of the borderlands. Primary data sources included semi-structured interviews, participant and non-participant observation, and personal artifacts (e.g. newspaper articles, college admissions essays, social media, etc.) collected from 17 full-time undergraduate student participants, 11 males and 6 females, ranging from 19 to 22 years old, who were active members of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Supplemental data sources included semi-structured interviews with 23 family members and 9 educators identified by student participants, as well as a review of public records regarding student participant's border town communities (e.g. newspaper articles, census data, educational statistics, etc.). Findings detail how this group of college students manages the 'scholar' distinction in their hometown and utilizes distinct methods to promote academic capital formation. Specifically, this study delineates the following four types of scholars: (1) pioneers, (2) guardians, (3) ambassadors, and (4) advocates. Ultimately, this research highlights the importance of college students' ingenuity in response to enduring system inequality in higher education, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border, with implications for research theory, policy, and practice.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Sanchez, Nydia C