Date of Award

Spring 3-20-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D.


Latina, doctoral student, gender, culture, race, intersectionality


Latinas currently attain the lowest number of terminal degrees in the United States when compared to White, African American, and Asian American women. While Latina doctoral students share common struggles with other minority/female doctoral students, the unique cultural expectations associated with their racial/ethnic and gender related identities conflict with traditional American educational values in important ways and may be a contributing factor to their significant underrepresentation among women who have earned doctoral degrees in the U.S. Latina doctoral students experience cultural incongruity as they realize that the intrinsic principles that contribute to their ethnic identity are incompatible with those deemed necessary to assume an academic or scholar identity. Latinas who attempt to maintain their ethnic identity in academia often experience guilt, confusion and frustration as they move fluidly between two realities with no solid footing in either. This study explores the personal and academic experiences of Latina doctoral students and how they define and negotiate a balance between ethnic and academic identities. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) as theoretical perspectives, particular attention was paid to how the intersection of race, culture and gender influenced the experiences of Latina doctoral students, and how institutional norms and policies contribute to racial, ethnic, and gender oppression.