Examining the sociocultural influences on the academic identity development of highly educated borderland Latin@s
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Much has been written about the struggles of Latin@s in higher education. Researchers have noted the many obstacles and barriers to academic success throughout the educational pipeline. Mostly absent from the literature, up until recently, is an asset-based approach to understanding Latin@s and their path towards academic success. Much less literature exists on borderland Latin@s, who typically must leave their hometowns in pursuit of higher education. This phenomenological study examines borderland Latin@s from Eagle Pass, Texas that have earned a doctorate, medical doctorate, or juris doctorate. This study adds to the literature by investigating two major questions: (1) What sociocultural and lived experiences influenced the academic identity development of highly educated borderland Latin@s? (2) What gender differences exist between the academic identity development of highly educated borderland Latin@s? The conceptual framework utilized for this study is Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model, which incorporates multiple sociocultural variables influencing Latin@s development while taking an asset-based approach to understanding. I follow Asencio and Acosta (2010) and Carrillo (2013a) through the use of “@” in Latin@ to “acknowledge equally the experience of women and men in the construction of this diverse and heterogeneous community” (p. 70). Recent literature has used the term Latinx in a similar acknowledgement.