MI LUGAR ES AQUÍ (MY PLACE IS HERE): LATINO MALE VOICES AND THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THEIR SUCCESS IN COLLEGE
MacDonald, Victoria M.
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In this collective case study, the voices of 10 academically successful Latino males were privileged to uncover the factors they believe contribute to their success in college. The participants in this study range in age from 18 to 24 and are from diverse Latino backgrounds including Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. Each Latino male participant maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or greater and began his higher education experience at the local community college. Using extant literature on various forms of capital, care, and patterns of transition, a conceptual model created to explore how participants' describe and understand academic achievement. Through individual interviews, focus groups, a survey, and participant selected artifacts, the power of care and the importance of social capital and community cultural wealth emerge as salient factors in academically successful Latino male experiences. In this study, care was redefined by drawing on the scholarship of Noddings (2005), Gay, (2010), and scholars who articulate critical conceptions of care. Other salient factors that contributed to participants' collegiate academic achievement included Latino cultural traditions (i.e., familismo, consejos, and bien educado), caring teachers and professors, coaches and mentors, and the role of the community college and community-based organizations. This study also found that because of care, and the values inhered in caring relationships (i.e., trust, support, and care), participants were able to gain access to a variety of capital as well as other important resources (i.e., transition strategies such as code switching and discerning expectations) that they were able to leverage toward their academic achievement in college. Implications for theory, research, and practice are presented with an emphasis placed on creating caring spaces that cultivate and nurture the academic achievement of Latino males in higher education environments.