The Haudenosaunee College Experience: A Different Kind of Engagement
Stephanie Waterman

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Syracuse University

Primary Discipline

This qualitative study will extend to a larger group of participants the author’s Ph.D. dissertation research on how Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) college graduates constructed pathways to their degree completion. No analysis of this kind about Haudenosaunee college graduates existed before. Findings from the original study of twelve participants were that the pathways were complex because of the participants’ dedication to their culture and family. The participants in the study did not “break away” from communities of their past; all found their greatest support from their family. Participants embarked on a double curriculum; that of their academic program and a Haudenosaunee language class or involvement in their traditional culture. The participants resembled adult returning students even when they were college aged and living on campus. The men students received more mentoring than the women, and reported richer, more intense experiences than the women. All participants negotiated their college experience with agency and resistance, maintaining their cultural integrity as defined by Deyhle (1995). The study now planned, will extend the number of participants to provide greater knowledge about this population. The participants will relate their experiences on the path to degree completion through open-ended interviews starting with their K-12 experiences, including the role of family, community, high school guidance, and access issues such as GED attainment and community college experiences.
About Stephanie Waterman

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