Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eligio Martinez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Dina C. Maramba

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Drew

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2022 Joe L Hernandez


Community colleges, Formerly incarcerated students, Institutional agents, Latinx students, System impacted students

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration


Formerly incarcerated Latinx/a/o students (FILS) are an under researched student population who are often ignored when Latinx/a/o issues are brought up. This study seeks to highlight the experiences of FILS in the higher education pipeline and their experiences in engaging in relationship with institutional agents. Using a critical qualitative race methodology, the research presents the findings from thirty-five one-on-one interviews with twenty student participants and fifteen institutional agents identified by the students as having an impact on their educational journeys. This study employed the Concrete Rose Framework to highlight the experiences of the FILS as they engaged in relationship with the institutional agents by merging the various elements of Bourdieuian Analysis of Capital (BAC) Transformative Ruptures (TR) and Critical Race Theory (CRT). Through analyzing the data, the following three major themes emerged: the “Concrete Soil”, the “Concrete Gardeners”, and “Shattering the Concrete”. The Concrete Soil encompasses how the FILS experience higher education and their relationship with institutional agents and the impact the agents had on the students resulting in Transformative Ruptures. Furthermore, within this finding FILS developed their own success networks utilizing their lived wisdom which came about through the transformation of the knowledge and skills developed because of incarceration and surviving on the streets. The next finding, Concrete Gardeners highlights the experiences of institutional agents as they supported FILS along their educational journey and how they initiated Transformative Ruptures for their students. Data from this section also demonstrates how Concrete Gardner’s sought to payback the investment and support they received from their mentors, which led to their high level of investment in students they served. The final finding, Shattering the Concrete, demonstrates the overlap in the findings between both the student and the institutional agents. Data from students and mentors corroborated barriers faced and how students overcame these issues. In addition, findings highlighted how Transformative Ruptures initiated by concrete gardeners would later transition to Healing Ruptures where students found strength in their past. Finally, implications for practitioners who support FILS and develop programs for formerly incarcerated students, along with how to advance the scant research surrounding this student population, and developing policies that will have a lasting impact on this student population.



Available for download on Thursday, July 10, 2025