ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Maria Trache


Native American college students have higher rates of attrition when compared to their non-Native counterparts. In previous studies, researchers have attributed the academic (un)success of Native students in a postsecondary setting to cultural conflict. In this dissertation, I used quantitative methods to examine culture-specific support mechanisms for a sample of 1,066 Native American college students through the lens of transculturation (i.e., social isolation, cultural reciprocity, and resiliency) and identified factors of support that led to the preservation of cultural integrity (i.e., maintenance of cultural traditions and preservation of cultural identity) and to academic success. More specifically, I examined the relationship between perceptions of culture-specific support (e.g., tribe, family, faculty, staff, peers, higher education institution) and the latent construct of cultural integrity with GPA, persistence, cultural reciprocity, and cultural resiliency. Additionally, I was interested in exploring the intersectionality between cultural integrity and sexual identity for Native college students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, or queer (LGBTTQ), and examine the relationship between culture-specific support and academic outcomes for this subset of students. Furthermore, I elucidated on the history of Afro-Cuban transculturation and its application to the context of Native American higher education to demonstrate how researchers have used this theory to explain cultural exchange. Huffman adapted this theory to explain the socialization process for Native American students who attended predominately white institutions. Due to my findings, I expounded on Huffman's model of transculturation, and I presented an alternative model and definition of transculturation that in my view can be successfully employed to understand cultural exchange at the intersection of Indigeneity and other identity markers. My dissertation findings are reported in an article-based format which contains three completed manuscripts representing chapters 2, 3, and 4.


Native American higher education, Transculturation


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington