Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 198 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Teniell L Trolian

Committee Members

Kathryn Schiller, Kelly Wissman


AfroLatinx identity, colorism, Critical Race Theory, intragroup marginalization, Latino college students, Sense of belonging, Hispanic American college students, Dominican Americans, Black people

Subject Categories

Higher Education


This qualitative study investigated the racialized experiences of AfroLatinx collegians at a diverse public university. Sixteen (16) self-identified AfroLatinx students participated in semi-structured interviews and a focus group to share their stories in negotiating their ethnoracial identity as it relates to sense of belonging. Drawing on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit), the study examined the experiences of AfroLatinx students growing up in traditional Latinx homes and how their neighborhoods and social networks influenced their racialized identity formation. Rendón’s (1994) Theory of Validation and Tucker’s (1999) modified version of Tinto’s (1993) Theory of Student Integration shed light on AfroLatinx collegian experiences among their collegiate peers. Utilizing narrative research, a method of qualitative interviewing that emphasized participant's’ perspective, and counter storytelling, a story re-telling method that challenges deficit-thinking usually linked to minoritized students, participants shared their experiences as being Black and Latinx, simultaneously. Qualitative analysis revealed that AfroLatinx collegians had varied experiences growing up. Many reported being exposed to anti-Black and anti-AfroLatinidad messaging that contributed to identity confusion. Strong sense of belonging was attributed to student life diversity; yet findings suggest that collegians involved in programs and services that embraced and acknowledged their racialized identity were more likely to report being satisfied and motivated. Based on these stories, academic and student affairs practitioners can use this knowledge to address institutional challenges and pitfalls relative to transition, adjustment, and persistence affecting Latinx students.