Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Susan K. Gardner

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth Allan

Third Committee Member

Kathleen Gillon

Additional Committee Members

Leslie D. Gonzales

Leah Hakkola


In summary, this study focused on understanding the persistence of 20 Latina undergraduate engineering students enrolled at two public four-year Hispanic Serving Institutions. Key findings in this study showed that in order to contribute to their own persistence in engineering majors these Latina students activated their community cultural wealth: (a) not only to resist different forms of oppression, but also to thrive and excel in academic settings, (b) to take control of difficult and challenging experiences, (c) to take/receive knowledge from others, but also to give/share their knowledge (cyclical tendencies of CCW), (d) as well as revealing that helping others was the reason many chose to become engineers. Two major findings of this study regarding Latina undergraduate engineering student persistence included: (e) major finding #1: the influence of faith on Latina student persistence, and (f) major finding #2: overt and covert applications of capital.