Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jill Tarule

Second Advisor

Thomas Macias


For Latina's in the United States, navigating the spectrum of racial and ethnic identities can be complicated. This same complication has the potential to affect one of the largest groups of Latina's in the nation: Mexican-Americans living in Texas or Tejanos. Through qualitative analyses of interviews and surveys and the use of an ecological framework on identity development theories for Latina's, Native Americans, Multiracial peoples and those in the Mexican diaspora, this study examines various factors that influences the ethnoracial identity choice of Tejano college students.

Findings revealed that there were several common themes across all the participants, even those who did not identify as Tejano. Geographical origin of parents and family and community influence emerged as a noticeable reason as to why students identified as Tejano. A connection to generations of family in the United States and Mexico also impacted how strongly students identified ethnoracially as Tejano. In addition, experiences of "not being enough" galvanized some students to a stronger Tejano identity. Other themes included the impact of physical appearance, growing up with Spanish in their household, and Tejano representation in media.

Recommendations are targeted to staff and faculty who work with Latina students, especially Mexican-Americans in Texas, to provide opportunities to explore and support a more complex ethnoracial identity including connection with their cultural traditions, education on Latina history, an examination on the impact of language on identity, and consideration of ethnoracial affinity group work.



Number of Pages

157 p.