Publication Date

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Ellen Middaugh


Asian American, Civic Engagement, Community College, Youth

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) students are considered the fastest growing segment of college participants in the United States. AAPI students represent the majority racial demographic population in the California Community College campuses (Chang et al., 2007). Studies on youth and civic learning points to the benefits of early engagement as it can lead to greater participation in future civic activity well beyond their college years. However, literature on AAPI community college students and civic engagement is mostly absent. This single institutional study examined AAPI student’s civic engagement experience and investigated the factors that both support and hinder their motivation and civic participation. Students were invited to take an on-line survey and a post survey interview. Results of the mixed method study found that students who were highly engaged showed increased connection to their campus and greater civic agency. It also uncovered that AAPI students were more drawn to community service/volunteering types of activities than politically based events and more importantly that they are in fact interested in civic engagement. Understanding the unique civic experiences of AAPI students helps dispel model minority myths and legitimizes their lived experiences. Through the critical examinations and reflections of the experiences of current AAPI community college students, a better pathway can be constructed to improve a more favorable outcome for future AAPI students who seek to participate in civic learning.