Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Robert J. Nash


As educators and higher education administrators, it is important that we connect to our students. It serves us well to learn the stories behind those beautiful eyes looking back at us, as we support their navigation through the journey of higher education. This thesis, written in a Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) style, will use former foster youth students, as well as at-risk youth, as the population of focus. I will relay my own personal experiences, as a former youth-in-care. I will also explore this kind of alternative upbringing, to draw closer to the conclusions and insights of the struggles and triumphs of this population's journey through higher education. I will show how the successful connections with supportive administrators, friends, and family lead to a successful student and improved human being upon graduation.

When we label our marginalized students as "at-risk" we are imposing a story upon them, that is not theirs. This stereotypes where they came from dismisses their stories, and triumphs, and places them in a box that labels them. We need to provide them the same opportunities and supports that other students get to help make their way into and through college. We must remove the label of "at-risk" but this is only part of the journey in supporting these young people while they progress toward a degree. It is our job to increase success through weaving together opportunities to connect with different departments, different leaders on campus, and different groups of their peers. From the classroom, to our offices and hallways, this will help these students to create a stronger view of themselves and the world. As a former youth in foster care, I am not at-risk. I am at-promise. All the vulnerable young adults that I talk about in this thesis are not "at-risk." Instead, they are 'at-promise.'



Number of Pages

77 p.