Rosa I. Law

First Advisor

Pierce, Corey D.

First Committee Member

Vaughan, Angela L.

Second Committee Member

Wesley, Cindy

Third Committee Member

Krahnke, Keiko

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Document Type


Date Created



This research, guided by Yosso’s (2005) social capital theory, delved deep into the lived experiences of individuals navigating spaces where they encountered perceived discrimination and how their core self-evaluations played a pivotal role in shaping their responses to such experiences. Through a meticulous process involving qualitative data analysis strategies such as coding and thematic analysis, the study unveiled larger themes and narratives that moved away from a deficit perspective, focusing instead on assets the individuals brought to the table including their aspirations, goals, and familial and social capital. In the discussion section, focus group settings facilitated rich dialogues where participants shared personal narratives, shedding light on their daily encounters with discrimination and microaggressions. Despite facing challenges, many showcased a resilient spirit by refusing to let negative comments define their self-view, a perspective aligned with a anti-deficit mentality. The discussions revealed a common thread of individuals employing self-affirming strategies to maintain a positive self-view, demonstrating the power of core self-evaluations in mitigating the impacts of discrimination. This research underscored the importance of shifting the lens from a deficit perspective to one that recognized and leveraged the strengths individuals brought to their environments. It called for a more inclusive and empathetic approach in higher education settings, urging stakeholders to create spaces that nurtured self-affirmation and positive self-evaluations.

Abstract Format



108 pages

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Copyright is held by the author.