Date of Award


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Administration


Jesus Cisneros


Around 80 percent of undergraduates enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions are employed (Carnevale et al., 2015; Kena, Musu-Gillette, Robinson, Wang, Rathbun, Zhang, & Velez, 2015). Research shows that student employment is one of the most critical activities that affect students' post-secondary experiences and decisions while enrolled (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Perna 2010; Riggert et al., 2006; Tinto, 1993). The present study aimed at understanding how employing organizations and workplace environments of first-generation Latinx on-campus student employees influenced their ability to build social capital and navigate through higher education.

A social capital lens was used to help understand student participants' work experience by drawing attention to their social relationships and networks in their workplace (Bourdieu, 1986; Coleman, 1988; Lin, 1999). The theoretical framework was Small's (2009) organizational brokerage theory. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with ten first-generation Latinx undergraduate student employees and six full-time student employee supervisors. A deductive method to organize how student participants formed social capital was employed before the data were categorized into themes.

Data analysis from this study demonstrated how students' work environment helped form social capital and navigate higher education. This analysis led to identifying three major themes: (a) supportive environments; (b) on- and off-campus networks; and (c) enriching experiences through embedded networks. Findings suggest that students' supportive environments, interactions and networks, and enriching experiences brokered at their campus, contributed an intricate role to participants' social capital formation. This study offers implications for educational research and practice.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

160 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Christian Corrales