Llegando a la Loma de las Sonrisas: Testimonios of Mexican-American Migrant Women




Guzman, Maricela Guerrero

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This qualitative study is about the lives of three Mexican-American educational leaders who were migrant farmworkers during their school-aged lives. An abundance of literature exists describing the reasons why migrant children are unsuccessful in acquiring an adequate education. This study aims to surpass the extant literature of migrant student farmworkers that portrays them as dropouts and ultimately failures. This study sheds light on the stories of resilience, desire, and determination. The purpose of this study is to explore the lives of successful Mexican-American female educational leaders who were migrants, in an effort to learn how they successfully negotiated their way through the various systems they encountered. A qualitative research approach was implemented to gain in-depth experience through the voices of women who were academically successful regardless of challenges imposed on their lives as migrant farmworkers. Data was collected as the women shared their testimonios. This qualitative study was guided by the following research question: What are the personal and professional journeys that have influenced migrant women to their current leadership positions in education? Three participants provided their testimonio. "Testimonios were first used to convey the experiences and enduring struggles of people who experienced persecution by governments and other socio-political forces in Latin American countries" (Delgado Bernal, Burciaga, & Carmona, 2012, p. 364). By using testimonios, this study brings to life "experiences [that were] otherwise silenced or untold" (p. 364). Chicana Feminist Epistemology was used as a research guide for this study. This qualitative study found that parental/family support, self-efficacy, resiliency, and mentoring were among the major contributions to the success of these women as they encountered life challenges. Other findings were the challenges or obstacles the women encountered such as racism, subtractive schooling, financial burden, and family hardships. Implications for research, practice, and policy are suggested by the findings in this study of testimonios.


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Chicano Movement, Female educational leaders, Mexican- American Women, Migrant Students



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies