Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Organizational Studies

Second Department


Reader 1

Barbara Junisbai

Reader 2

Cynthia Alcantar

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Rights Information

© 2019 Shaafi A Farooqi


This qualitative research project examines the role of socioeconomic status in shaping the experiences of students attending Pearson College, an elite liberal arts college in Southern California. One hour-long, semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students in order to better understand APIDA student experiences and their views on the college’s efforts to support class-based diversity and inclusion. Findings include insights into challenges faced by college students, how they understand privilege and identity, and where college students find support. These results have implications for Pearson College, and similar liberal arts colleges, to implement changes to better support students that are reporting significant mental health challenges and feelings of alienation. In addition, this work adds to the broader national conversation around income inequality and social mobility in higher education. As more and more young people across the country attend college, it is imperative to ask who “diversity and inclusion” college initiatives are truly benefiting.