Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Girardi

Second Supervisor

Cassandra Hyacinthe


The purpose of this study was to understand how first-generation Latinas define college involvement and how they feel this involvement contributed to their successful graduation from a community college. Because more Latinas are successfully completing college than their male counterparts (Latinos), this study sought to better understand the validating and student involvement factors that allow Latinas, who are also first-generation college students, to graduate from college. Community colleges are the primary entry into higher education for this student group; therefore, the study sought to explore college involvement at this type of institution. This study utilized a phenomenological approach to describe the experiences of nine first-generation Latina students who earned an associate degree from a community college within the past 3 years. Data was obtained via qualitative exploration using in-depth interviews that were coded and analyzed to develop themes. The researcher uncovered eight areas that the participants linked to their level of involvement in college activities. These areas were receiving information, confidence, growth, college support, family support, peer support, continued support, and early involvement. This study makes recommendations on how institutions can make improvements in practice and create an environment where first-generation Latina students can be involved and reach academic success. The recommendations include initiating early contact with students, creating academic support programs, and utilizing peer support.

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