Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 905–918 | Cite as

Success factors impacting Latina/o persistence in higher education leading to STEM opportunities

  • Claudia PeraltaEmail author
  • Melissa Caspary
  • Diane Boothe


This study investigates how Latina/Latino youth resist, conform to, and persist in schooling, and explores their preparation for an education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Using Latino Critical Race Theory as a framework, evidence of the “sticky mess” of racial inequalities (Espinoza and Harris in Calif Law Rev 10:499–559, 1997) and the concept of community cultural wealth (Yosso in Race Ethn Educ 8:69–91, 2005) will be used to understand how Latina/o students successfully persist in college. Quantitative and qualitative findings collected at two public universities in 2007–2012 show that Latina/o parents play a significant role in influencing their children’s decision to attend college; family, friend and community support and hard work have also been instrumental in college success. This is evident through parents’ encouragement to persist, expectations to do well and students serving as role models for siblings and peers. As policy makers in the educational arena emphasize STEM fields, there is a significant opportunity for Latino students to make valuable contributions.


Persistence Latina/o Inequality Community cultural wealth STEM 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Peralta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melissa Caspary
    • 2
  • Diane Boothe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bilingual EducationBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA
  2. 2.Georgia Gwinnett CollegeLawrencevilleUSA

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