Masters Thesis

The educational aspirations of Latinx mothers: a qualitative study of the stories and challenges faced by mothers organizing and advocating to expand access to higher education and student success

This study provides further insight regarding the aspirations of Latinx mothers and their influence to support more access for Latinx students into higher education. Parental engagement is very rarely seen in higher education spaces. I am interested in exploring how the advocacy efforts by Latinx mothers in education spaces provide student success for the Latinx student community. Employing the theoretical framework of Mujermismo, Latinx womanism, which concentrates on race, gender, class and sexuality of the lived experiences of women, we were able to bring a lens to the stories shared. Through a qualitative, narrative inquiry research method, I conducted semistructured interviews with a total of five Latinx mothers who were recruited from a local education non-profit in Fresno. The participants of my study had to meet the following criteria: (a) reside in Fresno, California, (b) have children enrolled in school, (c) lived outside the U.S. prior to arriving in Fresno, California (d) involved in activism and organizing efforts and (e) identify as Latinx. The key findings included four components of access to higher education: (a) an understanding of the aspirations mothers have for their children in K-12 education, (b) language barrier, (c) providing a sense of belonging in education spaces, (d) meaning of la lucha, meaning the “fighting the good fight.” These findings enabled us to understand how higher education access is supported by Latinx mother’s involvement.

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