Dissertation Defense: Verónica Guajardo
You are cordially invited to join us for the Dissertation Defense of Verónica Guajardo, to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Pacific Islander Room of the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center. Below, you will find the dissertation proposal abstract and the Supervisory Committee.
Title: UndocuLives: Understanding the Information Behavior, Needs, and Networks of Undocu-Students in Higher Education
Information regarding college admissions, deadlines, standardized tests scoring and financial aid can be daunting for any student. It is exponentially more so for undocumented students who must consider legal and financial barriers. Annually, an estimated “65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools” (Dream Act: Fact Sheet, 2010). However, only about 5 percent to 10 percent enroll in higher education and 1 percent to 3 percent graduate from college each year (Russell, 2011), with an even smaller number continuing into graduate school. Nonetheless, undocumented students are navigating multiple systems and are enrolling in colleges and universities, in some states with increasing numbers, despite the enormous obstacles. It is a complex quandary.
Undocumented college students use technology use to satisfy information needs and will continue to do so, as information can facilitate access regardless of legal status. This is important to undocumented youth who often experience unique challenges including stress, alienation, anxiety, uncertainty a sense of limbo and insecurity when considering educational options and seeking help to navigate systems of higher education. There is a compelling gap in knowledge about this vulnerable group and their information needs, technology use and overall understanding about undocumented college students’ networks and information behaviors. Like undocumented communities themselves, the information needs and information-seeking behavior of undocumented students are complex and multidimensional. The development of a more holistic understanding of undocumented student’s information behavior, technology use and support is important. Using a qualitative exploratory approach, framed through though a social justice framework, this study that draws on three methodological approaches including participatory photography (photo voice) interviews with 11 participants, an online document review, and a focus group, to investigate the information behavior of undocumented students in higher education, to address the following questions: 1) What is the nature of the information needs, searching and seeking behavior of undocumented students at the college level?, 2A) How are online (digital) and offline face-to-face connections (networks, support systems) used for information-needs, gathering and searching for undocu-related content? And 2B) How do undocumented students express their undocu-lives in online platforms?
Ricardo Gomez, Chair
Negin Dahya, Member
Megan Ybarra, Member
Ángela Ginorio, GSR