Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Antonia Lukenchuk

Second Advisor

Dr. Todd Price

Third Advisor

Dr. Sara Efrat Efron


The purpose of this narrative study was to understand the experiences of successful Latina women attaining higher education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) and the challenges they have overcome along the way. Additionally, I sought to examine ways in which these students challenged the stigma of invisibility often attached to Latino communities. Representatives from Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico, the participants of this study were seven women employed in various areas of STEAM with higher education degrees.

Cultural Capital and Feminist Cultural Studies provided the theoretical framework for this study. The three-dimensional narrative design was applied to data analysis that resulted in identification of the following meaningful themes: (a) “Latina Women’s Path to Success in STEAM;” (b) “Persevering through Stereotypes and Invisibility;” and (c) “Cultural Traditions and Ancestral Voices.” The participants’ narratives conveyed the path to success that was both unique and common experience of overcoming multiple barriers and persevering toward educational and professional accomplishments. Strong cultural traditions, familial values, and networks of support were among the main influences in the participants’ lives. The role of the bisabuelas (great-grandmothers), abuelas (grandmothers), and madres (mothers) was particularly important in the participants’ path to success.

This study encourages educational professionals and policy makers to create better opportunities for Latina students striving to succeed in STEAM through a variety of incentives, programs, policies, and environments conducive to more inclusive and equitable practices.


Publisher's note: Personal photos have been redacted for privacy.