Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language



First Advisor

LaVona L. Reeves

Second Advisor

Tracey McHenry

Third Advisor

Chiu-Hsin Lin


This double case study examines the academic journeys of a Latino university president and a Latina college president of Mexican descent. The aim of this study was to discover how they overcame barriers and become successful in a career where only 3.8% are Latino/a presidents. In order to come to learn about their lives and career paths, the researcher interviewed each president face-to-face, asking 26 open-ended questions related to their experiences growing up and being educated in bilingual families. The researcher is a bilingual Latina who teaches high school ESL, and as she taught for her first few years, she read the interviews again and again—a practice recommended in constructivist grounded theory (Mills, Bonner, & Francis, 2006). In this critical ethnography, the researcher presents both emic and etic perspectives while discovering and interpreting themes in the data. The researcher reflected on her languages, family, education, and migrations, including these in her literature review and data analysis. The research findings indicate that through resilience, optimism, parental support, and future planning, the presidents achieved their distinguished positions.