Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

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




"This auto-ethnography/literacy narrative examines the journey of a first-generation Mexican immigrant woman from birth through completion of the master's degree at Eastern Washington University. The purpose of this single case study is to examine how one first­ generation Mexican immigrant college student was able to succeed in higher education despite being part of the least academically successful minority group. It is also important for teachers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds to tell their stories about overcoming hardships and barriers to academic success-such as discrimination, low socioeconomic levels (Reeves, 1997; 2012), low levels of education. The author includes photos and written artifacts selected to document her journey from infancy to completion of the master's degree. Like many blue-collar workers, her parents provided "invisible" support that teachers often could not see: hard work, Catholic values, optimism, and determination. Offering both emic and etic perspectives of life in the orchard communities, the author gives voice to Mexican immigrants and their families, hoping that hearing their stories will change "frozen narratives" (Brock, 2007) about immigrants of color. Hers is a story of anomie reduction (Okabe, 2008) during undergraduate and graduate studies, including liminal moments that gave her agency (Soliday, 1994) and helped her reclaim lived experiences, empowering and liberating this daughter of an orchard worker who came to the United States and has worked for the same orchardist in Washington for almost 40 years"--Leaf iv.