Publication Date

Fall 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Counselor Education


Jason A. Laker


Educational persisitence, first-generation students, gender differnces, identity, Latino ethnicity, Latino male students

Subject Areas

Educational psychology; Counseling psychology; Psychology


Because Latino male students have lower graduation rates from high school and postsecondary institutions than other demographic groups have, this qualitative research study examined the psychosocial experiences that influence the development of educational persistence. To this end, eight Latino male undergraduate students, who are also low-income and first-generation students at San José State University, participated in semi-structured interviews in which they discussed their identities and school experiences. An analysis of the eight interviews shows how these students made meaning of their education, gender identity, and ethnicity. The constant comparative method for analyzing interview transcripts revealed the following themes: (a) the role of familismo, or familism, which is incorporated into Latino values to support education, (b) the role extracurricular activities, (c) the role of school personnel, specifically teachers and school counselors, and (d) the role of racism when becoming aware of one’s Latino identity. Emphasizing the social context of identity development through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory enables researchers to see an individual’s constructed meaning and to identify from which constructs educational persistence became enmeshed in a student’s identity.