The voices of Latina high school students in south Texas: Reflections on their cultural identity, college aspirations, and social media use

Date

2016

Authors

Villarreal, Daphne E.

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Abstract

This study examines ten Latina Millennials from South Texas and their views on cultural identity, college aspirations, and social media use. This qualitative study considers at how high school Latinas explore college opportunities and how both cultural and academic identity play a role in their preconceptions and expectations of college. I also analyzes how identity plays a role in their college aspirations, and what role social media plays in reinforcing this socially constructed identity. The study draws on the conceptual framework from Gloria Anzaldúa (1987) Border theories; her discussion on borders and ethnicity are highlighted in this study, along with Tara Yosso’s (2005) theory of Community Cultural Wealth.

Through semi-structured and focus group interviews, the Latina teenagers’ insights on their own self, culture, and family practices are documented as well as their views on social media— with a particular focus on how they use online tools for information about college consideration and the application process. The participants’ social media activities were observed in search of evidence of college exploration or academic preparation. The findings indicate that Latina Millennial students are influenced by social networks in their college search, but cultural norms are more significant than what is offered on social media networks.

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Department

Bicultural-Bilingual Studies