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

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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.

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Correspondence to Claudia Peralta.

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Lead editors: Alejandro J. Gallard Martinez and Rene Antrop González.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Tell me a little about yourself. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Why did you decide to be a science student? Or why you decided not to be a science student?

What were some of the challenges you encountered?

Can you describe the role that your family played during your educational experience?

Can you describe the role that your friends and community members played during your educational experience?

Can you describe the role that school members played during your educational experience?

Do you feel that science was presented as an educational option throughout your education?

Do you feel like your position as a multilingual or English language learning student has given you an advantage in the sciences?

Do you feel like your access to technology has limited your success in the sciences?

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Peralta, C., Caspary, M. & Boothe, D. Success factors impacting Latina/o persistence in higher education leading to STEM opportunities. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 8, 905–918 (2013).

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