Date of Award

Fall 10-19-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, PhD

Committee Member

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, PhD

Committee Member

Daniel Jean, EdD


Persistence, Hispanic, Qualitative, Self-Efficacy, Peer, Educational Experience


The experiences of Latino male students are oftentimes consolidated with those of other student populations from similar backgrounds. While the research on Latino males has been slowly expanding to include their varied experiences, it has been mostly characterized by a deficit-oriented narrative focusing on their challenges rather than their successes. Concentrating on the difficulties experienced by Latinos socializes administrators and researchers to focus on students from underserved backgrounds as problems, instead of resilient beings (Harper, 2015).

This qualitative study focused on the experiences of 20 successful Latino male students at a four-year public institution. Through semi-structured interviews, participants discussed how they understood and explained their persistence in college. The analysis of the data focused on how participants’ perceptions and explanations of persistence differed by ethnicity, being first generation college student, household income or immigrant generation. Findings from this study revealed that successful Latino male students’ validating and invalidating experiences contribute to their success, self-efficacy beliefs and academic optimism. Additionally, findings revealed distinctions in how first and second generation students explain their educational experience and contextualize their persistence in relation to their ethnic and gender identity.