Latina Student Mothers’ Trenzas de Identidades in the Community College

Hortencia Jiménez, Nereida Oliva


Latinx are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the country and their growth is visible in higher education. Using focus groups with student mothers, we examine the narratives of four Latina student mothers pursuing higher education at the community college. Using Chicana Feminist Theory as our theoretical framework, we apply trenzas de identidades (Godínez, 2006; Montoya, 1994) as a metaphorical and analytical tool to understand the experiences of Latina community college student mothers. The student mothers’ trenzas de identidades demonstrate the ways their mother, student, and professional identities intersect and influence how they experience and navigate the educational pipeline. We call upon higher education faculty and administrators to reject deficit ideologies of Latina student mothers, and we offer recommendations for creating a receptive environment for them.

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