Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dina Maramba

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda Perkins

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Lucrecia Santibañez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Junelyn P Peeples


First-generation college students are first in their families to go to college and may not have the resources to help them navigate a college setting. They have parents who have not received a four-year degree, which diminishes the amount of knowledge they accumulated to help them navigate a college setting effectively. They are typically underprepared academically and socially, which can impede their ability to adjust and negatively influence their persistence and ultimately degree attainment. There is research that suggests there are ways to retain students and provide better support systems that help them graduate. Studies have found that peer-to-peer interactions has potential to influence a peer’s disposition, which may affect certain educational outcomes. Since any environment is conducive to peer formation, then the setting is also an important factor in studying peer-to-peer involvement to find where the effect resides. This study measured deliberate peer-to-peer interactions in academic and social activities of college-aged women at a private elite liberal arts setting to determine whether a peer can affect their peer’s first year persistence and academic GPA. Using a dual research design that incorporates a quantitative secondary data analysis with a complementarity qualitative approach makes it possible to measure whether a peer effect resides in these interactions and provides rich in-depth insight into first-generation students’ lived college experiences in their first year. The preliminary model used in this study on peer effects takes into consideration who the students are when they enter the college and how important their background characteristics are to their educational trajectory. This model focuses on how the student develops, which can help determine the precise activities and interactions that may produce either a positive or negative impact. This preliminary model also has implications for immediate application because it can account for important predictors that institutional practitioners can incorporate with ease and generate results, so they can be used to inform policies and drive decision-making practices and program development.