Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education


Educational Services & Leadership


College of Education


Wright-Mair, Raquel

Committee Member 1

Saadeddine, Rihab

Committee Member 2

McCombs, Tyrone


Latinx college students, minoritized student populations, Predominantly White Institutions


Hispanic American college students


Higher Education


As human beings, it is essential that we feel included in and connected to the communities in which we function. These feelings of inclusion and connection are referred to as feeling a sense of belonging. As a minoritized student population, Latinx/a/o students experience the difficulty of transitioning into an educational culture that is not prepared to welcome and serve them. The purpose of the following phenomenological qualitative study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of Latinx/a/o students and the ways in which their perceptions shaped their sense of belonging at a predominantly white institution (PWI). The study features 12 undergraduate students who identify as Latinx/a/o, and explores the following themes: Representation matters, navigating marginalization, strong support system and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In addition to highlighting factors that impacted students' sense of belonging, recommendations for critical action were outlined. The findings of this research will not only add to the body of literature on Latinx/a/o students and their sense of belonging at PWIs, but also call for urgent and transformative action among education stakeholders.