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Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center.

Description: This study used qualitative research, particularly life history analysis, to determine the personal pathways of success for Latino students who chose to enter a health science center for graduate study and who graduated. By giving voice to individual success stories of Latino students, some of the influences on the life pathways of these graduates were determined. For the purposes of this study, success was defined as graduation from a health science center with either a doctor of philosophy, doctor of public health or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. Four research subjects agreed to participate in this study from a possible 11 students from the graduating class of 2004-2005 at this health science center. Data were gathered through multiple in-depth interviews of the students themselves over a period of no more than one month for each participant. Data were analyzed using the mind mapping technique and Padilla's unfolding matrix. Findings indicate that each participant traveled a different pathway to achieve educational success although similarities did exist across participants. The influences of family background, cultural background, educational background and personal perceptions and goals did affect the pathways of these four Latino graduates. While three of four participants indicated that family was the most important influence on their academic success, all participants related the importance of family to their success, although their definitions of family seemed to vary and included the concepts of education, culture, and personal perceptions and goals. The concepts of family support of education and a culture of education within the family unit emerged as similar themes among study participants. Other similarities among participants were a high academic self-concept, a strong internal locus of control, the ability to create academic community, and a positive view of potentially negative situations. Individual themes emerged from the narratives within each category for each ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Colley, Kay Lynne
Partner: UNT Libraries