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An Examination of the Lived Experiences of Successful Latinas Currently Enrolled in a Four-Year Institution Open Access

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An Examination of the Lived Educational Experiences of Successful Latinas Currently Enrolled in a Four-Year InstitutionThis qualitative research study discovers, investigates and explores how selected Latinas make meaning of their high school experience. This study also examines whether there are any resources and/or factors that contributed to their success. The 14 participants are currently enrolled as full time students at a post-secondary institution. The researcher conducted one in-depth, semi-structured interview with each participant. Qualitative research methods (Merriam, 2009) were used to analyze what participants shared. Social capital theory was the theoretical perspective that provided the lens for this study (Coleman, 1988; Putnam, 2000; Stanton-Salazar, 2001). A concept map containing four categories, self, family, school and community, along with a constructivist outlook were included in the overall approach to interpret how Latinas made meaning of their experience. Results from analysis of the data revealed five main themes: (a) Self Identity, (b) Family Influences, (c) Educational Experiences, (d) Advocacy, and (e) Community Connections. These themes and the categories in the concept map are interrelated and were found to have an impact on how Latinas access, acquire, network, and build upon social capital. The conclusions, along with the implication to theory, inform the implications for practice in school systems and policy.

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