Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Emilie Reagan

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Claudia Bermúdez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thomas Luschei

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

© 2024 Jacqueline Rangel


Doctorate, LatCrit, Latina, Mentorship, Scholar Familia, Testimonios

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education | Women's Studies


In the United States, Latinas are underrepresented in obtaining PhDs that lead to high level professional careers and academia. This may be due, in part, to patriarchal academic institutions and approaches that have historically devalued the cultural experiences and identities of marginalized populations, including Latinas in higher education. However, research suggests that mentorship can support Latinas in successfully obtaining PhDs and disrupt institutional norms and practices. Framed by LatCrit, Mestiza Consciousness, and Mujerista Mentoring, this study sheds light on the experiences of twenty-four Latinas who earned PhDs-with or without mentors during their doctoral journeys. As such, the purpose of this study was to understand the role of mentorship for Latinas who obtained PhDs while negotiating their cultural or gender identities. A qualitative research design using Testimonio methodology was used to reposition Latinas with PhDs as central to the analysis. While each Doctora’s experience was unique, common themes across Testimonios included navigational barriers, identity through mentorship and scholar familia, cultural and gender assets, and feminist energy. These themes reflected tensions and barriers experienced through racism, sexism, classism, and ableism that guide normative academic research. These findings are less surprising if we consider the critical role of mentorship in these ways: funding, finding postdoctoral positions in higher education, providing emotional support along with cultural competency, and being in their scholar familia circle. The stories of these successful Latinas add to the existing research by exposing their experiences and how they claimed space grounded in their community and found the right “tribe” to maintain their cultural and gender identity while obtaining a PhD.