From the Fields to the University: Charting Educational Access and Success for Farmworker Students Using a Community Cultural Wealth Framework

Cynthia Bejarano, Michelle Valverde

Abstract


In 2002, the New Mexico State University College Assistance Migrant Program (NMSU CAMP) was created to increase the number of baccalaureate degrees held by students from farmworker backgrounds by mediating structural impediments that typically normalize post-secondary inequities for this population. Migrant and seasonal farmworker students are significantly marginalized and underserved in the United States. There is also a notable lack of research exploring their success in higher education. This article addresses this gap through an exploratory analysis of quantitative and qualitative data spanning years 2006-2011 that include 130 self- administered questionnaires, six key informant interviews, and numerous observations. A “community cultural wealth” framework [CCW] (Yosso, 2005) is utilized to explore factors contributing to students’ entrance into the university and their persistence thereafter. The findings suggest that farmworker students utilized the notions of familia and ‘pedagogies of the home’ (Delgado Bernal, 2001) to navigate their transition inside an unfamiliar terrain, while the CAMP program itself utilized similar notions of familia to break the practice of ‘manufacturing sameness’ typically experienced by students in the freshmen year.


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