Chicana Feminism Informs Educational Trajectories and Leadership: Graduate Student Testimonios from Nepantla
This qualitative testimonio study centered the voices of two Chicana graduate students and two doctoral students of an Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program to examine how they interpret the positioning of their intersectionality as well as how these interpretations influenced their college trajectories and conceptualization of educational leadership. Chicana Feminist Epistemology grounded the investigation to claim research as a site of equality where collaborators participated fully in data collection and data analysis. Methods of plática and reflexión were employed to engage collaborators in a critical reflection of their lived experiences relevant to their intersectionality with the aim of translating these reflections into individual testimonios. Specifically, a Mestiza Methodology Framework was introduced as a model in which collaborators integrated data collection and data analysis to yield a synthesis, analysis, and interpretation of their testimonios presented in the format of a collective testimonio.
Findings demonstrated by interrogating the imposition of dualities that split the intersections of their identity, collaborators located Nepantla, the space between these dualities to excavate knowledge from El Cenote, the intersection of dualities. From El Cenote findings revealed the family as an intersection of identity with the largest influence on initial educational trajectories defined at the undergraduate level. In addition, overall educational experiences fragmented Chicana intersectionality operating to threaten their academic survival. Lastly, the search for the healing and reconciliation of a fragmented identity re-set educational trajectories towards advanced degrees in Educational Leadership framed by a praxis of social justice.