Date of Award

Spring 2012

Project Type


Program or Major

Liberal Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Justus Ogembo


This master's level thesis's objective was to gain a better understanding of how a sample of 13 undergraduate Latinas who graduated high school and immediately enrolled into college define academic success. Through interviews, these undergraduate Latinas explain where these self-definitions came from, mentors that may have influenced these definitions, and if their ethnicity and gender has played any role in the way they perceive academic success. The study also considers findings from previous research regarding academic resilience factors associated with Latinas, such as: being involved in college ready initiatives, obtaining academic support from significant others, having mentors, receiving various messages about the importance of academic success for future success/careers, and socio-economic stability, as well as consideration of cultural capital, social capital, and additional forms of capital. Wanting participants to define their own experiences a phenomenological approach was used, which allows for deep description and rich data collection.