Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education PhD, Joint with San Diego State University


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Rafaela M. Santa Cruz

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Perez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Joey Nuñez Estrada, Jr.

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Deborah Faye Carter

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Anthony Villarreal


college access, Community Cultural Wealth, immigrant students, Latinx, Mexican American students, new Latinx destinations

Subject Categories

Higher Education


With dramatic population growth and redistribution, Latinx are becoming increasingly dispersed across the country, particularly in states that previously had very few Latinx residents. Considering this phenomenon, there is a need for educational research that does not attempt to operate under the same assumptions within regions where the Latinx presence is long-standing, but rather carefully examines educational outcomes and experiences within the new Latinx destination context. This study explores the college access experiences of 20 Mexican American students within Oregon through a Community Cultural Wealth framework (Yosso, 2005). Participants were recruited through a purposeful sampling approach, accompanied with snowball sampling, that was used to locate rich key informants (Patton, 2014). Oregon is situated as an important new Latinx destination with a unique history and context that continues to be influenced by regional sociopolitical and economic factors that need to be considered to understand the educational trajectories of Mexican American students. Furthermore, Community Cultural Wealth is an asset-based perspective that allowed for the identification of participants’ strengths across two broad categories in this study: foundational forms of capital and driving forms of capital. Foundational forms of capital included aspirational, familial, and linguistic capital, which grounded students’ educational pursuits in their family, community, and linguistic histories. Navigational, social, and resistance forms of capital drove participants through their successful trajectories. Most significant was how participants’ priorities in their personal, educational, and professional journeys were rooted in family and community legacies and inspired them to reinvest in their communities through advocacy and cultivation of the next generation of Latinx students and community leaders. Foundational forms of capital included capital related to participants’ self-motivation, family support, and multilingual resources. The driving forms of capital refer to those that influenced both college search and choice, instrumental college pathway educational programs, such as Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), and how participants found ways to give back to their home communities both personally and through their professions. Their reflections provide unique insights for enacting culturally affirming/sustaining practices and policies, not just in Oregon, but in other new destination contexts, which may be unprepared to serve rapidly growing Latinx populations.