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ERIC Number: ED536022
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 280
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-5105-9
Legacies of Immigration: Children of Immigrants' Experiences Navigating Higher Education
Yeung, Fanny P.F.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Immigration, as a continuous phenomenon, extends beyond a singular migratory event that an individual experiences. The purpose of this research project was to explore the college experiences of second-generation immigrants and how their family relationships, immigrant histories, and socioeconomic status directly and indirectly shaped their postsecondary experiences. These personally defining characteristics contributed to the likelihood of being first-generation college students and influenced the extent to which students were active contributors to their family affairs and their exposure to professional and adult roles. As school-age children of immigrants matriculated into college, their educational trajectories and their parent's immigration histories have the potential to represent the "most consequential and lasting legacy of the new mass immigration to the United States" (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001, p.18). This trend is likely to continue. While previous work has explored the experiences of immigrants, little is known about the influence of students' immigrant histories and integrated roles within immigrant families on their postsecondary attainment (Portes & MacLeod, 1996, 2005; Rumbaut, 1994). Researchers acknowledged the pressures and impact of immigration on the children of immigrants, especially in their navigation and negotiation among two cultures (C. Suarez-Orozco, 2005) and have documented the immense impact immigration can have on individuals' self and identity processes (Coll & Magnuson, 1997, 2005). The impact of students' immigration histories on their development and academic experience were also further complicated by students' identification with a minority group and foreigner statuses (Spencer, Swanson, & Cunningham, 1991). This study adapted Yosso's (2005) community cultural wealth concept into a theoretical framework to study how children of immigrants develop and convert community cultural wealth to foster strategies for postsecondary success. A relational accountability framework was also utilized to better understand how 47 children of immigrants negotiated their family roles and responsibilities and their postsecondary aspirations. Community cultural wealth challenged traditional notions of cultural capital beyond measures of financial accumulation and included a critical analysis on whose knowledge is valued and counted (Delgado Bernal, 1998, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 2000). This study reframed notions of accountability used within educational settings by equating accountability in terms of relational connections or responsibilities individuals may have to other people, family, community, or a group. Through these frameworks, students' responsibilities are not solely burdens or extraneous tasks but instead solidified students' active roles and contributions to the family. Their contributions and skills developed in this process provided children with key relational perspectives that enable them to consider how their decisions and behaviors affect themselves, their family, and communities. This dissertation utilized two phases of qualitative investigation: (a) in-depth semi-structured interviews and (b) PhotoVoice documentation, a method of data collection that involves photography and participant participation. The study was conducted at a highly selective, public research university in California and identified within the following groups: 15 Chicana/o and 32 Asian American students, 14 male, 31 female, and 2 queer students, and 33 students from low socioeconomic families. A constant comparative approach was utilized to employ an interactive analytical and interpretative approach to data analysis. Interview data and photographs provided insight into the complexities of their decisions made, understandings and motivations underlying their postsecondary experiences. As active contributors and participants to their families, the second-generation students understood how their parents' immigration and settlement experiences and their sacrifices delineated the educational and economic opportunities and resources available. Results explored strategies students' employed to persist in college while managing academic and adult responsibilities and revealed five types of roles and responsibilities students engaged in: academic, emotional, home, physical, and financial responsibilities. Students' reflected how these tasks have been normalized since their youth and had only realized potential differences in their lived experiences as students interacted with their peers in primary school. The determining characteristic in xxi student's roles in particular tasks appeared to be centered on parents' familiarity with and fluency in English. This dissertation explored the ways in students' negotiated their roles and responsibilities and their postsecondary goals simultaneously. Students often carried the emotional weight of their decision and opportunity to pursue college away from home. Geographic distance from their home had constant implications how particular roles and responsibilities were exacerbated and others were mitigated. However, amidst students' roles and responsibilities, many students were able to remain engaged with their postsecondary experiences and community. Interestingly, students reported that employment on campus served as a valuable space for students to connect with their peers and university staff. Overall, students' higher education experiences provided evidence that challenged perceptions of what a typical college experiences may entail and demonstrated the strategies employed to navigate and balance competing family and postsecondary responsibilities. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California