Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Uma Jayakumar

Second Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Third Advisor

Patrick Camangian


The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how first generation college students leverage both traditional forms of social capital and community cultural wealth in the process of transferring from a California community college to a selective four-year institution, using a Critical Race Theory (CRT) paradigm, and a framework including Stanton-Salazar’s (1997) network analytic theory and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth. The current study adds to the literature by critically analyzing the post-secondary education experiences of first generation community college transfer students, focusing on the students’ strengths and gaining a better understanding of what institutional and community based resources they drew on to successfully navigate the transfer pathway.

This mixed methods study was situated at UC Berkeley and included 115 survey respondents and 15 individual interviews. All participants were first generation college students who had transferred to UC Berkeley from a California community college. Qualitative analysis was intentionally centered in this study in order to address elements of community cultural wealth that previous survey instruments have not adequately captured. Survey results are presented through descriptive analysis, drawing on a critical quantitative survey design. Findings show that students leveraged a variety of resources including institutionally based support through faculty, counselors and specialized support programs, and community based supports such as family, peers and students’ own online research to navigate the transfer pathway.