Date of Award

Fall 2010

Degree Type




First Advisor

Karen Monkman, PhD

Second Advisor

Jason Goulah, PhD


With 1.8 million undocumented students under the age of 18 living in the shadows in the United States, it is indisputably clear that teachers, administrators, and policy makers must pay attention to their educational needs and aspirations. As the undocumented population disperses across more states in the U.S., it is imperative that people who work with undocumented students know their stories, issues, complexities, and difficulties. This ethnographic case study follows two students who are in their first and second years of community college. Through extensive interviews, the students share who they are, issues of power, concerns for the future, and ideas of agency and revolution. Looking through a theoretical framework based on ideas of James Gee and Paolo Freire, the two students’ educational aspirations, contextualized through their experiences as undocumented students, are explored.

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