Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies. Under the Supervision of Professor Marilyn L. Grady.
Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2009.
Copyright (c) 2009 Minisa Chapman-Huls


An exploration of the college experiences of multiracial women uncovered the strategies they used to navigate the monoracial system of predominately white institutions. A purposeful sample of 18 women who were multiracial was chosen. Data was collected through semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Participants’ stories represented multiracial experiences at thirteen different undergraduate institutions. A participant’s precollege experiences, identity and the college’s peer culture impacted how she approached social situations in the highly homogenous and monoracial setting at college. Participants took on the roles of pacifist, non-conformist, and activist to successfully navigate college environments and social scenarios. The findings also support prior study on the identity development of multiracial college students. Childhood experiences shaped the racial identity of participants that was affirmed and challenged, but not changed by college factors and experiences. Significant factors to the identity development of participants at college were academic courses, faculty and peers. Implications of the findings and limitations of the study are discussed. Advisor: Marilyn Grady.

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