Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Second Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Third Advisor

Sarah Capitelli


This qualitative study was conducted at a Northern California community college with eight Latino/a student’s and the utilization of their testimonios to bring awareness to their academic experiences, successes and needs as first-generation college students. A large majority of Latino/a students who do enroll in college begin at community colleges, this stands to be the first point of entry into higher education for current and future Latino/a student’s (Santiago & Stettner, 2013). Community colleges graduating mostly vocationally trained Latino/a student’s continue to feed into a history of limited educational and societal mobility, which is vastly different from the white students experience (Cohen, 2008). Community colleges have an obligation to address the issues of inequitable services to Latino/a student’s that will change the trajectory of their educational experiences. New resources and strategies need to be implemented to increase the rate of Latino/a community college graduates and transfers to four-year universities (Gándara & Contreras, 2009).

The problem of access and opportunity for Latino/a students in community colleges is great and needs to be addressed especially as they become the majority on many community college campuses. For some community colleges that are considered Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) through Title V of the United States educational code, serving this Latino/a population with equal opportunities could not be of greater importance (Higher Education Act, 1965). This study demonstrated in its student narratives the various systems of support, such as family and transfer readiness programs, that helped students accomplish their academic and career goals. These students also shared stories racial biases, lack of financial resources, and systemic obstacles that created educational barriers. The utilization of student testimonios is necessary and imperative for institutions to create services they find most useful, and finally to provide the best pedagogical practices to deliver successful academic outcomes.