Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

First-Generation Women and Identity Intersectionality
by Kouzoukas, Georgia, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 217; 10600980
Abstract (Summary)

With a considerable focus to increase America’s degree completion rates amongst our diverse population, higher education policymakers and researchers have examined the college access, persistence, and completion rates of first-generation students. However, minimal research has addressed the heterogeneous student population through a gendered or intersectional lens. To provide nuance to first-generation scholarship and identity development, the dissertation employed a narrative inquiry approach to examine the meanings five first-generation women made as they understood their intersecting identities within unique institutional contexts. Findings from the study are the following: the women defined themselves as individuals with multiple identities and not solely on their first-generation status; the saliency with which individuals associated with a first-generation identity varied; an initial identity conflict regarding first-generation status catapulted the women’s understanding of other social dimensions and allowed them to transition from processing each identity in isolation to an intersectional conception of self; identity development was an evolving process with the saliency of social dimensions fluctuating based on temporal and situational contexts; and some women were not adequately challenged to reflect on their gender identity. The conclusions from the study will add to the knowledge base not only on first-generation students, but undergraduate women’s advantaged experiences, and identity intersectionality within higher education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harper, Shaun R.
Commitee: Perna, Laura W., Walpole, MaryBeth
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Womens studies, Ethnic studies, Higher education
Keywords: First-generation students, Higher education, Women
Publication Number: 10600980
ISBN: 9780355219067
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