Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Ryan E. Gildersleeve

Third Advisor

Kristina Hesbol

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Martinez


College persistence, Critical Evocative Portraiture, Social reform, Student Validation Theory, Undocumented students


This qualitative study explored the college experiences of five undocumented students. Using data from three in-depth interviews, the study sought to offer insights to educational leaders on the in- and out-of-class validating experiences that influenced a group of undocumented students to persist in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Rendón’s (1994) theory of student validation provided the framework for the study. The qualitative method of critical evocative portraiture (Lyman, Lazaridou, & Strachan, 2013) was used to collect, analyze and present the data. Congruent with the methodology, the researcher constructed a critical evocative portrait of each of the participants. The portraits provide a full picture of the participants, and honor the complexity and powerful experiences of undocumented students. The findings revealed that academic and interpersonal validation overpowered adverse circumstances, and that awareness of legal status and the impact on the future developed a drive and passion for social change.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Erica García


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

253 p.


Education, Educational administration, Higher education