Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kris De Pedro, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michael Hass, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John Hernandez, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Carlos Lopez, Ph.D.


Latinx student enrollment in higher education institutions has increased over the years. Despite their increased number of enrollments, there is also an increase of Latinx first-generation students dropping out of higher education. Not only are they not earning a degree, but they are leaving these institutions with debt. This is a concern because students dropping out affects the institution's overall graduation rates. This qualitative study examined factors that contributed to ten first-generation Latinx students’ persistence and success at a predominantly White, private institution. The study used grounded theory methodology and methods to develop an initial exploratory theory. The dissertation study was part of a larger study examining the experiences of first-generation students at a predominantly White private institution in southern California. For the dissertation, the experiences of ten first-generation Latinx students were examined. The study found that the participants developed and transformed through personal growth, critical awareness, and resistance. The transformation and growth that occurred in their academic journey informed the participant's practice that leads to service for other first-generation Latinx students at the institution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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