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The Impact of a Transformative Peer Mentor Model

  • Author(s): Chavez, Sandy
  • Advisor(s): Solorzano, Daniel G.
  • Durkin, Diane
  • et al.
Abstract

Research shows that 51% of all Latinx in the U.S. who enrolled in all segments of higher education, enrolled in two-year colleges (Crisp & Nu�ez, 2014). However, Latinx students are less likely to receive a postsecondary degree in comparison to their African-Americans, Asians, and White counterparts (Santiago, 2011). The purpose of this study was to examine how a proposed mentor model known as the Transformative Peer Mentor Model (TPMM) impacted Latinx peer mentors’ and mentees’ decision to complete community college. TPMM specifically has four elements: (a) use of counterstorytelling for empowerment, (b) creation of counterspaces by students, (c) practice of Freirean Problem-Posing Mentoring, and (d) acknowledgment of students’ Community Cultural Wealth (Yosso, 2005). The study explored how Latinx students responded to TPMM’s elements and how each element worked in conjunction to validate lived-experiences of Latinx community college students. Utilizing a qualitative approach, this study captured the voices of Latinx community college students and contributed to the literature that relates to Latinx mentoring experiences and academic persistence. The study was guided by two research questions: (a) What do peer mentors and mentees identify as the most meaningful components of the Transformative Peer Mentor Model? (b) What forms of Community Cultural Wealth do peer mentors and mentees bring to the Transformative Peer Mentor Model?

Data collection included two focus groups and ten semi-structured interviews with peer mentor-mentee dyads. The qualitative findings depicted the many barriers first-generation college Latinx students encountered throughout their education. Yet, findings suggest that TPMM is a promising approach that supported Latinx community college students’ overall educational experience. Further, findings revealed that although students possessed all forms of CCW, the most salient for them are aspirational and familial capital. Findings provide insight for educational leaders on a peer mentor model supports Latinx community college students desire to complete. Findings can help practitioners understand TPMM elements and determine which might be most effective in promoting retention, persistence, college completion, and transfer success at their institution.

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