First-Generation College Students and Undergraduate Research: Narrative Inquiry into the University of Arizona's Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program and the Phenomenon of Student Transformation

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/306969
Title:
First-Generation College Students and Undergraduate Research: Narrative Inquiry into the University of Arizona's Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program and the Phenomenon of Student Transformation
Author:
Huerta, Andrew L.
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
With increasing numbers of first-generation college students enrolling in colleges and universities across the US, so too is the need to begin preparing such underrepresented students for graduate school and a career in academia. As a phenomenological case study of student transformation, this dissertation examines the experience of nine first-generation college students in the summer research portion of the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program (McNair) at University of Arizona. The qualitative data collected includes in-depth interviewing, observing the students' in-class presentations on the progress of their summer research, and reviewing the students' written work. Drawing on Adult Transformational Learning Theory (Mezirow, 1991) and Gee's writings on student identity (2000) and Discourse (2005), this study primarily addresses the following questions: 1) How do UA McNair students take on and use the Discourse of research during the 10 week summer program? And 2) as they engage in the Discourse of research (in classes, with mentors, with peers, in written work), what academic identity transformations are observed (in the classroom, in interviews, and in written work)? Narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) was utilized to organize and examine the data, and research texts consist of academic biographies written for each student. Findings reveal that student transformation is the noticeable difference in the students' utilization and integration of a language system used to describe their summer research and to define their research interests. Defined as the Discourse of research, this becomes the basis for students enacting the identity of undergraduate researcher. As a cohort of nine McNair Scholars, students share the experience of undergraduate research and engage in conversations which address the insecurities they have as first-generation college students. Through this formation of an affinity group (Gee, 2005) and their utilization of the Discourse of research, students engage in critical reflection, reevaluate their academic identities, and begin preparing themselves for their transition from undergraduate students to first-year doctoral students.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Graduate School Preparation; Narrative Inquiry; Research Experiences for Undergraduates; Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program; Student Transformation; Language, Reading & Culture; First-generation college
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Language, Reading & Culture
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Anders, Patricia

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleFirst-Generation College Students and Undergraduate Research: Narrative Inquiry into the University of Arizona's Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program and the Phenomenon of Student Transformationen_US
dc.creatorHuerta, Andrew L.en_US
dc.contributor.authorHuerta, Andrew L.en_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractWith increasing numbers of first-generation college students enrolling in colleges and universities across the US, so too is the need to begin preparing such underrepresented students for graduate school and a career in academia. As a phenomenological case study of student transformation, this dissertation examines the experience of nine first-generation college students in the summer research portion of the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program (McNair) at University of Arizona. The qualitative data collected includes in-depth interviewing, observing the students' in-class presentations on the progress of their summer research, and reviewing the students' written work. Drawing on Adult Transformational Learning Theory (Mezirow, 1991) and Gee's writings on student identity (2000) and Discourse (2005), this study primarily addresses the following questions: 1) How do UA McNair students take on and use the Discourse of research during the 10 week summer program? And 2) as they engage in the Discourse of research (in classes, with mentors, with peers, in written work), what academic identity transformations are observed (in the classroom, in interviews, and in written work)? Narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) was utilized to organize and examine the data, and research texts consist of academic biographies written for each student. Findings reveal that student transformation is the noticeable difference in the students' utilization and integration of a language system used to describe their summer research and to define their research interests. Defined as the Discourse of research, this becomes the basis for students enacting the identity of undergraduate researcher. As a cohort of nine McNair Scholars, students share the experience of undergraduate research and engage in conversations which address the insecurities they have as first-generation college students. Through this formation of an affinity group (Gee, 2005) and their utilization of the Discourse of research, students engage in critical reflection, reevaluate their academic identities, and begin preparing themselves for their transition from undergraduate students to first-year doctoral students.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectGraduate School Preparationen_US
dc.subjectNarrative Inquiryen_US
dc.subjectResearch Experiences for Undergraduatesen_US
dc.subjectRonald E. McNair Achievement Programen_US
dc.subjectStudent Transformationen_US
dc.subjectLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
dc.subjectFirst-generation collegeen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorAnders, Patriciaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAnders, Patriciaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGilmore, Perryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDeil-Amen, Reginaen_US
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