Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Counselor Education


Jason Laker


cultural wealth, ethnography, identity, low-income, narrative, photography

Subject Areas

Education; Educational sociology; Counseling psychology


The purpose of this narrative ethnographic study was to explore the success stories and lived experiences of six low-income students, utilizing an asset-based approach and attention to cultural wealth. Low-income students are less likely to attend college, and those that do are less likely to complete a degree. There is presently a lack of asset-based research that explores the successes of low-income students. A semi-structured interview protocol yielded biographical narratives of low-income students, which included discussions about identity and provided insight into the cultural wealth possessed by low-income students. In an effort to better understand the use of visual methodologies in ethnographic research within the field of education, participants were asked to share family photographs and personal artifacts with the researcher while telling their story. Conclusions made by the researcher highlight the necessity of understanding identity and culture as an integral part of a low-income student’s educational experience.