Rural Latinas/os of the Pacific Northwest : college and the experience of self-identification Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/736668822

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  • There is an ever growing number of Latinas/os who reside and have settled permanently in rural America. Unbeknownst to most, rural Latinas/os face adversities unfamiliar to those living outside of this scope. As it stands, the barriers urban Latinas/os students face when transitioning to college has been well documented. However, there is a lacunae of research on Latinas/os experiences when transitioning into college from white rural high schools. This study will focus on the process of self-identification involving Latinas/os from rural areas and their experience in a more diverse college community. Informal interviews were conducted with Latinas/os who attended high school in rural areas located in the Pacific Northwest region enrolled at institutions of higher learning in this same region. The testimonios of Latina/o students' experiences of living in a predominantly white, rural area with little influence from the Latina/o culture on their self- identification were collected. The interviews were analyzed utilizing the theoretical frame work of Critical Race Theory and LatCrit. Additionally, my own self- reflection as a Latina attending high school in rural Wyoming where there was little Latino influence and subsequent transition into a predominantly white institution of higher learning was analyzed. This was a two-fold process of analysis of my own Latina self- identification using Anzaldúa's stages of conocimiento. My findings revealed that students had both positive and negative experiences in their predominately white rural communities. The testimonios of the participants as well as my own self-reflection revealed that our lived experiences help us grow as individuals and as a collective, to negotiate relationships, and gain perspective on viewing the world through multiple lenses. The results also highlighted the importance of creating and fostering a rural conciencia to better understand our lived experiences.
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