Department of Educational Administration


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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Corey Rumann. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2014

Copyright 2014, Krista Navarrette


This qualitative study explored Latino men’s experiences in higher education and their capacity to succeed at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) in the Midwest region of the United States. The study focused on six participants as they navigate through college and how they viewed their validation as Latino males in college. The literature review discusses the current state of Latino/a’s in higher education and how they are lacking in the education race in regards to white students. The researcher used Validation Theory to investigate Latino males - deemed the “invisible population”—in order to find new implications for persistence, pursuit, and achievement for Latinos in higher education

Through a semi-structured interview protocol, qualitative interviews were conducted with each of the participants. Participants shared their experiences -being a Latino man in higher education and how they viewed their self-worth, confidence, and the ability to succeed. Findings indicated that validation was found in the classroom, out of the classroom, and internalized as they persisted through the educational pipeline. Validation occurred among professors, coursework, peers, family, mentors, and through student involvement. In addition, a theme emerged from the data that examined participants own inner validation. This research challenges institution to become active agents in validating students as they navigate the campus environment and places responsibility on faculty, staff, administrators to actively engage with their students to provide support, and offers recommendations for future research and best practices.

Advisor: Corey Rumann