Yakaboski, Tamara

Committee Member

Donovan, Jody

Committee Member

Fahey, Kathleen

Committee Member

Skousen, Jacob


Higher Education and P-12 Education Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



327 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


A constructivist paradigm guided research to explore how student affairs student employees at two institutions made meaning of their multiple and intersecting identities in the context of their student affairs employment experience. Four current students at one institution provided data via interviews, a focus group, and participant journals while 12 former students at another participated, one via a phone interview whereas the rest submitted written email responses. Document analysis and a researcher journal also served as data sources as meaning and understanding emerged during this study. Through intentional and unintentional development opportunities, students shared stories and painted a picture of the way employment in a division of student affairs supported their development as they came to making meaning of their identities. Conclusions indicated work experiences helped students develop confidence, a sense of self, a sense of belonging, and realize new appreciation for and understanding of their own and others’ identities. Additional findings indicate students experience and witness discrimination of minoritized identities regularly in their student employment environments and privileged identities may allow students to forego fully processing their identities and experiences. Finally, while development opportunities in the work place may help students in the processing of their identities, more consistency and intentionality are needed when providing these types of experiences.

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Copyright is held by the author.