Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose W. Lalas, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Christopher H. Hunt, Ed.D.

Gregory W. Hamilton, Ed.D.


social sciences, education, hispanic students, Mexican American high school, Mexican American students, school counselors, social capital


Educational Leadership


The premise of this research is to consider Pierre Bourdieu's social and cultural capital theoretical framework to analyze the life experiences of Mexican American high school students. This qualitative study examined the perceptions of two administrators, four counselors, three students, and three parents regarding the influence of social and cultural capital on student engagement. Three of the participants were first-generation working class Hispanic students with aspirations to attend a four-year university. The participants were interviewed through a semistructured interview protocol to identify what sources of capital are the most useful in creating better educational opportunities for Mexican American students. This qualitative study used a narrative inquiry design to gather data from the participants. This design allowed for the gathering of "authentic voices" of Mexican American students and those who work with them. This study validates the important role of social and cultural capital acquired at home and at school, and the needed access to quality resources and meaningful relationships. The finding and limitations reviewed in this study bring awareness to the need for social and cultural capital resources to improve social outcomes for low-income Hispanic students. Based on the data findings, recommendations are made for school counselors and Hispanic students.


© 2014 Joanna P. Dorado

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781321204438