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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Joanna Royce-Davis

Second Advisor

Dimpal Jain

First Committee Member

Thomas Nelson


Although first-generation college students and fratemity and sorority members have been explored and described independently within higher education research, less is known about the overlap in these two experiences and the culminating student population which provides the focus for this study. This study investigates the college experiences of six first-generation college students who are members of Greek-letter organizations at universities on the west coast. Case study methodology and community cultural wealth (Y osso, 2005) are used to analyze semistructured, in-depth interviews and provide rich descriptions, which inform an understanding of why students join Greek-letter organizations, the nature of their experience, and how their membership may influence how they experience college. Although participants did not describe their experience in college or in a Greek-letter organization as particularly unique as a result of their generational status, findings indicate a substantial gain in social and navigational capital, which they intended to utilize during and after their college years. Findings also indicate that due to the involvement in the Greek community, first-generation college students experienced college with a greater commitment to persist. By utilizing community cultural wealth to describe and explain first-generation college students in Greek-letter organizations, it emerges as a relevant framework for student affairs educators to incorporate into their practice.



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