Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jaekel, Kathryn S.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


This dissertation examined the motivation and source of support for first-generation Latina community college students who aspire to transfer to a four-year institution. The study is informed by Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth model, to explore how participants navigate their school environment and the vertical transfer process through an asset-based lens. The study aims to dismantle the deficit narrative that is many times told about communities of color. Eight students who self-identify as first-generation community college Latinas, plan on completing an associate degree within 1-2 semesters of the interviews, and have identified a transfer four-year institution were interviewed for this study. Three primary themes emerged from the research: students emphasized college choice as a collective where family plays an essential role in the decision-making process and as a source of motivation, second, they stressed the importance of finding support through meaningful interactions and relationship-building with peers, faculty, and staff, and finally, they expressed how at times they felt not seen or validated, but later became their biggest champions as they worked to achieve their academic goals and personal growth.


127 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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