Date of Award



© 2021 Monica Medina

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Second Advisor

Staci Grasky

Third Advisor

Eduardo Moralez


Community colleges serve as an essential gateway to higher education for Hispanics. Although first-generation Hispanic (FGHC) students continue to enroll in community colleges, there is limited research to explain their experiences using campus resources. This study’s purpose was to contribute to the existing literature on FGHC students and determine if their use of campus resources helped them succeed. This study used the conceptual framework of academic engagement (Tinto, 1996). Nora’s (2003) and Nora et al’s (2006) student engagement theory as lenses to explain how FGHC students can have pre-college characteristics that can affect their social, academic, and overall goals for success in a college setting. This study examined how seven FGHC students were able to use their pre-characteristics to successfully navigate college life. Five themes emerged after coding interview data; background, challenges, college, resources and support, and lack of role models. These themes answered this study’s three research questions. Participant responses showed a disturbing result: Although the seven participants lacked information on college resources or how to use them, they were able to successfully navigate college life and graduate from college. It is important to note that FGHC students are high in population yet lack the knowledge on college resources and how to access them. It was the goal of this study to help shed some light on the need for more culturally appropriate resources for success in college. This study can help college administrators, staff, educators, and students by shedding light on the needs for more cultural resources like bilingual staff to help FGHC navigate college life.


Ed.D. Dissertation