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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

First-Generation Undergraduate Researchers: Engaging and Validating Cultural Wealth-Based Self-Authors
by Young, Whitney B., M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 173; 10265542
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to investigate first-generation students’ pathways to undergraduate research experiences, the forms of capital brought to their research that allow them to self-author, and the validation they gain as a result of research participation. First-generation students are often described via deficit-based perspectives and are cited as having persistence issues and lower academic efficacy. The success of first-generation students is critical to the economic mobility of lower socioeconomic populations. By determining how these students are navigating more rigorous academic pursuits, such as undergraduate research, this study identifies how first-generation students persist academically. Through 12 qualitative interviews, students revealed their first-generation identity to be a source of motivation. Findings emphasize the importance of familial support, campus resources, supportive learning environments, and validating interactions with faculty. Ultimately, students’ identities become a form of capital within the research experience, that acts on their self-authorship abilities and are further empowered through the validating experience of undergraduate research. The findings of this study suggest a theoretical foundation of first-generation students’ interaction with research through Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth theory, Rendón’s validation theory, and Baxter Magolda’s theory of self-authorship. Recommendations for practice include early exposure to research experiences, more structured and formalized mentoring strategies, and more opportunities to connect to the campus research community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Locks, Angela M.
Commitee: Davis, Shametrice, Reimer, Kevin
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 56/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: First-generation, Persistence, Research, Retention, Self-authorship, Undergraduate
Publication Number: 10265542
ISBN: 978-0-355-06671-5
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