Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Josh Packard


Using qualitative methodology, this study identifies obstacles faced by students underrepresented in academia (i.e., first-generation, low income, race/ethnic and gender minorities) participating in a high impact program, and how self-efficacy is maintained while combating obstacles. This study adds a new dimension to understanding the relationship between underserved populations in academia, self-efficacy and student success. Findings, based on interviews with nine McNair Scholars, identified multiple themes as both obstacles and benefits to their academic education e.g., minority status, support, knowledge, time/ organization, stability and community. A better understanding of the complex relationship between success and hardship for non-dominant identities in academia is needed before adequate changes can be implemented, promoting success for all students.

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