Date of Graduation

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership (O&L)


School of Education

First Advisor

Jessie Blundell

Second Advisor

Seenae Chong


The purpose of this study was to conduct a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project with undergraduate student employees at a large research institution in order to reimagine the career and leadership development programs so that they are responsive to, and supportive of, students who identify as people of color. This would be done using a framework of Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth theory (2005). The participants of this study were five undergraduate student employees who worked within a single department in a division of Student Affairs. The methodology used was Participatory Action Research, which is a methodology in which the researcher works within the community with the goal of achieving positive change, allowing the community members to bring upon the change that works best for them (Bryden-Miller, 1997). The major findings show the value and necessity of redesigning a professional development program through a lens like community cultural wealth. This program could provide a more inclusive environment, mentorship, both on a peer level and from someone in more of a leadership position, a connection with other departments who offer resources, and an opportunity to share student experiences and prepare any of our students who may be interacting with those resources so they feel prepared for the experience. There is so much value in creating opportunities for students to reflect on their journey, on who they are, where they are going, and what they have done to get here.