"College Pride, Native Pride" and Education for Nation Building: Portraits of Native Students Navigating Freshman Year
Adrienne Keene

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Harvard University

Primary Discipline

With this thesis, I plan to examine the experiences of a group of Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) college freshmen, all of who are alumni of a pre-college access program for Native students called College Horizons. Using Portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis 1997), a qualitative methodology that ?seeks to combine systematic, empirical description with aesthetic expression, blending art and science? (3), I will utilize data from longitudinal interviews conducted throughout the first year, participant observation, Facebook, and document analysis to co-construct a series of connected portraits that document the ways these Native students conceptualize their experiences in the freshman year of college, especially in relation to their varying and complex Native identities. Additionally, I will seek to understand what ways, if any, their experiences in a culturally grounded pre-college access program have affected their college transition. My goal in this research is to increase our understanding of Native students in higher education, and to highlight stories of success amidst narratives of failure. Statistics show that the college students are most likely to drop out after the freshman year (ACT Institutional Data File, 2012), so through an understanding of how these Native students are negotiating the challenges and rigors of their first year, we can begin to better serve these students and those like them.
About Adrienne Keene

Pin It on Pinterest