Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This qualitative study focused on exploring and understanding Latino/a first-generation college students' process for drawing or enabling educational resilience to persist and achieve their postsecondary education degree. Using Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Paradigm as the framework, the study explored how interactions between individuals and their environments influenced their persistence outcomes. Using purposeful sampling, 19 juniors and seniors attending a Midwest, private, religiously-affiliated university were selected to participate. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted during one-on-one meetings.

Findings indicated that Latino first-generation college students drew on or were enabled by internal (e.g., first-generation status, self-identified academic challenges, sense of purpose) and external resources (e.g., parents' hard work ethic, peers, faculty, and financial aid). The central comprehensive finding was that by drawing on the internal and external resources, the students demonstrated educational resilience and persisted to graduation.

The findings implied that Latino first-generation college students utilized various individuals and resources from their environments, regardless of knowledge, distance or time, to draw on and enable their educational resilience. The present study was conducted to expand knowledge on how student's internal processes influenced their persistence, and to aid post-secondary institutions in developing strategies that can help these students approach and handle social and academic challenges.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.