Higher Educational Aspiration, Civic Engagement, and Belonging for Latino Youth
Andrea Flores

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Brown University

Primary Discipline

For Latino youth in Nashville, going to college is inseparable from the American dream. At a moment when media and politicians question the value of college, these youth are clear about what it means both to them and about them. In this dissertation, I argue that youth link their educational attainment and civic engagement with the prospect of becoming moral actors and valued ?citizens? of the United States regardless of their current immigration status. This linkage serves as a positive influence on college enrollment. I find that youth?s notions regarding higher education?s value are formed and reinforced by the community service and character curriculum of a college readiness nonprofit called Latino Achievers. This dissertation contributes to literature on factors affecting Latino college enrollment, providing needed analysis of the protective role played by both nonprofits and civic engagement for a population that is both underrepresented in higher education and often socio-politically marginalized. It additionally contributes ethnographic detail on the contours of minority youth?s civic engagement. This dissertation is based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted at Latino Achievers in Nashville, Tennessee. Methods included: textual analysis, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation in the nonprofit and in learners? lives as they enact their values of education in everyday, and exceptional, ways.
About Andrea Flores

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