Understanding First Generation College Student Experiences and Interaction with Belongingness, Identity, and Social Capital: An Explanatory Mixed Method Study
AuthorBoone, Hank Joseph Reyes
AdvisorKirn, Adam N
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This master’s thesis is a mixed method explanatory study focusing on First Generation College student’s (FGS) engineering degree experiences. Constructs used to understand their experiences were future time perspective, belongingness, engineering identity, social capital, and social identity complexity. An upper level engineering students’ communications class was surveyed at a western land grant institution. Analysis showed FGS had more engineering belongingness than peers having at least one parent graduate college. The qualitative population was then upper level engineering FGS who reported high belongingness. Data showed the five interview participants communicated belongingness in terms of engineering identity. They became an engineer when they had experiences using engineering knowledge. Participants often accessed parents and family to make academic and career decisions, but some accessed more individuals (i.e. professors, engineers, peers). Lastly, participants appeared to compartmentalize their FGS identity to outside the engineering classroom while they formed their engineering identity through the degree program.