Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Genevieve Negron-Gonzales


First-generation female Mexican American students are part of the growing Latinx population of students entering American college campuses all over the country. They are students who have had to jump over several obstacles such as traditional gender roles and structures of inequality to attend university on their own. But they are not fully alone. Loyalty to family is a central core value many Mexican American women believe in, making family an integral part of their journey in higher education. Additionally, traditional gender roles, in conjunction with family, play a part in the responsibilities they take at home with their families. These affect their decision-making in regard to their education and path to adulthood. To this extent, this study uses the qualitative method of interviews to examine how first-generation Mexican American female students in higher education communicate with their immigrant parents as they attended university. By interviewing three parent-daughter pairs individually, this study gives insight into how parents and students learned to navigate university alongside each other. Students and parents reported their experiences with regard to their relationships, family obligations, and access to resources that would facilitate understanding this change. Findings suggest that students use their parent’s lived experiences to inform their decision-making in attending college while parents reflect on their lived experiences and open communication to understand the changes that occur with their daughter going to college. Additionally, findings reflect on how family and obligations are an important aspect of how students maintain and shape their relationships with their parents.