Document Type



The purpose of this study is to explore the progress of Latinas in the United States by focusing on first-generation female students in a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) who self-identify as Hispanic and/or Latin American. Furthermore, this study considers the contributing factors to their change and development, primarily through education. This study focuses on the shared and unique experiences of being first generation Mexican-America through the Latina experience in higher education. The research questions are: (1) What career fields do Latin American and Hispanic women pursue? (2) What impact do role models, gender roles, and culture have on their career choices and overall experiences in higher education? Those experiences include relationships with friends and family and their involvement in extracurricular activities. This qualitative study will explore scholarly literature to create a social, political, and economic landscape. This study is centralized in the migration narrative and the feminist narrative composed of six in-person or remote targeted interviews with students and staff at the University of Texas at Arlington. The purpose is to obtain different perspectives on Latin American and Hispanic women. Those subgroups were selected when considering their accessibility and their state in a transitional stage between family life, higher education, and the workforce. Finally, a personal statement about my experience as a Mexican woman pursuing higher education is embedded throughout the study. The general evaluation of the gathered information for this study has three recurring themes: (a) education, (b) individual determination, and (c) family and friends. The results are consistent with existing literature about Latinas in higher education and 4-year universities; however, this study has several limitations, such as a small sample size, time, and main focus on education. In addition, this study applies sociological theories, like feminist theory, conflict perspective, and gender schema theory, to better understand Latin American and Hispanic women in society. Arguably, this study contributes to the significant lack of research on the progress of Latin American and Hispanic women in the United States and the world in proportion to their growth and subscription to the largest minority group in the United States.

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Faculty Mentor of Honors Project

Rosa M Tellez & Alma Nidia Garza


A special thank you to my professors and mentors, Rosa M. Tellez and Alma Nidia Garza, for their support, time, and trust in this project. Thank you to Dr. Rebekah Chojnacki for her help and guidance in this project and my journey at Honors College. To my family, Enrique, Maria, Norma, Bivian, and Alex, for their unconditional love and support.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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