Hard Work and Heart Work: First-Generation Undocu/DACAmented Collegians, Cultural Capital, and Paying-it-Forward

Santa-Ramirez / Journal of First-generation Student Success / April 2021

Group of people at table

This critical ethnography highlights how first-generation Latinx undocu/DACAmented collegians who are members of a social and advocacy student organization at a public, historically white institution in the Southwest, U.S.A develop a scholarship and peer-mentoring program for other students with liminal legal statuses. The theoretical connections that guide this study are social and navigational capital and seek to answer how these collegians use these forms of cultural wealth to develop different campus support services for their peers. The findings from this study reveal how these organizational members use their cultural capital to organize and network with various stakeholders to develop a scholarship for undocu/DACAmented students, in addition to applying for and obtaining grant funding to commence a peer-mentoring program. This study highlights the agency exercised and assets these first-generation collegians bring to college and offer institutional agents recommendations to support them better.

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