Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Christine A. Nelson

Second Advisor

Sarah S. Hurtado

Third Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Fourth Advisor

Daniel Baack


Asian American, Graduate education, Higher education, Organizational culture, Southeast Asian American, Whiteness


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to understand the role that whiteness has in shaping the graduate education experiences of Southeast Asian American students in the United States. This study explores two research questions. 1) How do Southeast Asian American graduate students describe their graduate education? 2) How do Southeast Asian American graduate students describe concepts of whiteness, if any, throughout their graduate education? According to the experiences from six selfidentifying Southeast Asian American students, their graduate education experiences were described to be racially taxing, unchallenging, and isolating experiences. These findings stemmed from their graduate education experiences, which centered graduate learning spaces and curriculum, interpersonal interactions, and individualized processes related to their specific graduate program and education. With concepts of whiteness (e.g., censorship, model minority myth as either/or thinking, the right to comfort, and power hoarding) penetrating these four areas, implications include but are not limited to: culturally conscious organizational practices to promote inclusion; culturally conscious trainings for faculty and staff; an expansion in research pertaining to Southeast Asian American graduate education experiences and the interrogation of whiteness within organizations.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Lesley Nina Sisaket


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

189 pgs


Asian American studies, Asian studies, Higher education