California State University, San Bernardino CSUSB ScholarWorks Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations Office of Graduate Studies TESTIMONIOS ON THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS

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California State University, San Bernardino CSUSB ScholarWorks Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations Office of Graduate Studies TESTIMONIOS ON THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS HIGHER ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: VENGO CON GANAS, SOLO ÉCHAME UNA MANO! Jessica Grisel Mendoza Servin CSUSB, Follow this and additional works at: Recommended Citation Mendoza Servin, Jessica Grisel, TESTIMONIOS ON THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS HIGHER ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: VENGO CON GANAS, SOLO ÉCHAME UNA MANO! (2015). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. Paper 180. This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Office of Graduate Studies at CSUSB ScholarWorks. It has been accepted for inclusion in Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations by an authorized administrator of CSUSB ScholarWorks. For more information, please contact TESTIMONIOS ON THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS HIGHER ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: VENGO CON GANAS, SOLO ÉCHAME UNA MANO! A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of California State University, San Bernardino In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership by Jessica Grisel Mendoza Servin June 2015 TESTIMONIOS ON THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS HIGHER ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: VENGO CON GANAS, SOLO ÉCHAME UNA MANO! A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of California State University, San Bernardino by Jessica Grisel Mendoza Servin June 2015 Approved by: Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Committee Chair, Psychology Miguel H. Lopez, Committee Member Elsa Valdez, Committee Member 2015 Jessica Mendoza ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to highlight the importance of having academic mentors of similar heritage to facilitate higher academic attainment of first generation Mexican immigrants. The researcher assures to demonstrate how constructs such as mentorship, self-efficacy, self-regulated learning, social and cultural capital, and similar heritage due to cultural values can positively influence and contribute to the success of English Language learners in academia. Through the mentorship relationship, students, particularly minority groups, can tap into social and cultural capital that would otherwise be limited due to their immigration to a foreign country. Immigration typically limits individuals ability to communicate in the predominant language, which in turn limits their ability to culturally relate or access social capital. Mentors, particularly those of similar heritage, through their shared stories can become role models as they exemplify self-efficacy and self-regulatory strategies. Family, especially for Mexican-immigrants, is one of their strongest values. Students, given their cultural values, seek opportunities to create a sense of family. Having left their country, their friends and family; it is only natural for immigrants to find comfort in relationships that resemble those with padrinos (godparents). In this case, the relationship is not through a spiritual connection, but through a mutual understanding of hardships, background, and heritage. For these reasons, mentors of similar heritage have the greatest positive impact when facilitate higher academic attainment of Mexican immigrants. iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The past three years have been an amazing journey. The program has been an incredible gift, it gave me the opportunity to grow and develop in ways I would never have imagined. I feel blessed and appreciative for the development, knowledge, experience and evolvement I've experienced throughout the past years, but I am mostly grateful for the incredible individuals I've had the pleasure to meet and build relationships with. The faculty and my cohort colleagues will continue to be an integral part of my life; you have made my life so much richer in so many ways. My beloved children, Jason, Brandon and Scarlett, you are my greatest motivation and inspiration. Even though I missed some of the most important and memorable instances of your childhood, each of you demonstrated understanding that mommy was out completing one of her life long dreams. Thank you for your understanding, patience and love for mommy during this doctoral journey. Thank you for being so amazing, keeping up with your excellent grades, behavior, character and all your extra curricular activities! My devoted family and friends, my most fervent cheerleaders throughout, I owe you my eternal gratitude. Thank for all the times you understood I had to decline your gracious invitations due to my studies, for your words of encouragement, your words of wisdom, and most of all for your love and caring. My sister hermosa, Esthersita, te nos adelantaste! I love and miss you sister! Thank you for all the wonderful memories. You are an integral factor to iv my academic success. La pasamos de maravilla como undergrads. Hermosas vivencias sister. You will forever be loved and missed. Thank you to all my colleagues for understanding that the rigor of the program prevented me to attend and meet some of the requirements of my job. My ASES team, especially Lilian Gutierrez, thank you for being so awesome, understanding and supportive. To my dear committee, thank you for undertaking this challenge with me. Your support, knowledge and wisdom are admirable. I definitely could not have done this without you. My deepest gratitude also goes to the most remarkable individuals I have had the pleasure to meet, my research participants. Thank you for allowing me to hear your amazing and empowering stories. Thank you for allowing me to tap into your history in order not only to complete my academic goals, but also to serve as role models to our immigrant community. This educational experience has been one incomparable transformation and growth. Thank you Jesus! v DEDICATION There is absolutely no doubt that this academic accomplishment is dedicated to three extremely important persons in my life: my husband, Rene Leon, my mother, Mari Mendoza and my father, Gerardo Mendoza. Husband, you are the perfect complement to my life. You are the most supportive, giving and selfless individual I know. You have been there supporting, cheering, and encouraging me since my very first step in a university. You helped me move-in the dorms, you actually bought my fist set of comforters for my bed there! You have been there every step of the way in my educational journey, and my entire adult life for that matter, patiently waiting the moment I finalize this dream. Wow, it has been a long wait. Thanks to you, I hold the highest degree a woman can earn, a mother degree. We have the most precious, confident, successful, active, and most importantly healthy, happy and loving children anyone can ask for. You have often, if not most of the time, taken the role of father and mother in order for me to accomplish this dream. You have done it all so graciously and selflessly that there are absolutely no words to express my gratitude to you, and God for the gift of crossing paths with you on this earth. Please know that all your efforts have paid off and have not passed unnoticed. I might have not said it enough in these past 13 years, but I appreciate everything you have done for me. From encouraging me, paying tuition, raising our children, cooking for me, to the endless demonstrations of love through actions and all peace and happiness necessary to succeed in this crazy vi world of academia. You have done it all; this degree is yours, for you and because of you. Thank you my love. Madre, eres mi roca, mi modelo a seguir, mi inspiración y la bendición mas grande que Dios me pudo regalar. Te agradesco con toda mi alma la oportunidad que me regaste de venir a este mundo. No solamente me diste la vida, sino una vida maravillosa, llena de amor y paciencia. Siempre as estado ahí, cuidándome, protegiéndome y amándome, aun después de casada. Por ti, estoy en este país, jamás olvidare tu acto de valentía al traer a tus entonces ocho hijos a Mexicali para estar cerca de nuestro padre y tener una vida mejor. Ese acto de valentía me permitió llegar hasta donde hoy humildemente estoy. Gracias madre por todo tu esfuerzo, dedicacion y consejos. Estoy segura que mi abuelita, donde quiera que este, esta muy orgullosa de la gran madre que eres, apesar que ella no pudo estar con tigo. Mari, mi Marikita hermosa, muchísimas gracias, te amo. Padre, mi Gerochito hermoso, muchas gracias por ser usted. Sus sabios consejos y apapachos siempre me acompanan. Todas esas historias que siempre nos cuenta sobre su vida como imigrante, migrante trabajador del campo; de ese jovencito que un dia tuvo que emprender camino solo a un pais lleno de insertidumbres, lleno de desventajas y sufriendo tantas humillasiones. Que hombre tan sabio es usted padre, lo admiro y le agradesco todas esas historias porque son esas historias las que siempre me han fortalecido y dado impulso para salir adelante, para luchar y no darme nunca por vencida. Lo que vii hoy por hoy admiro padre, esque a pesar de tantas vivencias y sufrimientos, su hermoso corazon sigue fuerte y lleno de amor. Usted jamas se da por vencido en su lucha constante por la felicidad, sus dichos tan bellos tu y yo, como una y mugre, yo solo quiero vivir feliz con tigo, yo solo quiero vivir feliz. Pareciera juego Gerochito, pero siempre eh tenido en cuenta todas sus conversaciones, consejos y dichos sabios, cuando salgas de fiesta, si dejas tu trago no lo vuelvas a tomar, tu debes ser licenciada en administracion de tu dinero, amigo es un peso en la bolsa, y tantos otros que jamas terminaria de mencionar. Gracias padre, mi Gerochito, lo amo. viii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT..iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...iv CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Latina Immigrant of Mexican Descent...1 Statement of the Problem 6 Research Questions..11 Purpose of the Study.11 Significance of the Study...14 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction..17 Positive Youth Development. 18 Mentorship...19 Mexican Cultural Values of Familismo and Compadrismo Role Models. 26 Social Capital..27 Cultural Capital...28 Self-Regulatory Learning..37 Self-Regulatory Learning and Self-Efficacy...40 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY Introduction..42 Researcher s Positionality.42 ix Testimonios.47 Participants..49 Data Collection...50 CHAPTER FOUR: THE TESTIMONIOS Introducing the First Generation Mexican Immigrants..52 Results and Findings.55 The Testimonios.57 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Introduction 156 Discussion of Findings. 157 Themes..157 Concluding Thoughts APPENDIX A: INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD LETTER OF APPROVAL APPENDIX B: QUESTIONNAIRE LETTER OF CONSENT.174 APPENDIX C: QUESTIONNAIRE APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW LETTER OF CONSENT 178 APPENDIX E: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 180 REFERENCES.183 x CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Latina Immigrant of Mexican Descent This research focuses on giving a voice to the many and growing population of immigrants in the United States. It has been this author s passion to increase understanding of the knowledge, power, and service immigrant populations could potentially offer. Unfortunately, in order for those voices to be heard, one must face a multitude of challenges; consequently, there is a limited amount of immigrants making important decisions for the Latino immigrant community. Being a Latina immigrant of Mexican descent in the United States has been extremely challenging both personally and academically. Although, I have encountered both personal and academic challenges, my research focuses in the academic area given that academic success has given me freedom and a voice; a freedom and voice I would have never experienced without an education. Personal Challenges I am first-generation immigrant in the United States; my older siblings led the way to this country, not my parents. I am the youngest of nine siblings, all my siblings were born in Guanajuato, Mexico, except me; I was born in Mexicali B.C., Mexico. Out of 16 siblings, my father was the only US born. My parents got 1 married at the age of 13 (mother) and 16 (father), as it was accustomed in their culture, hometown and family. In order for my father to provide for his family, he immigrated to the United States, but due to his lack of education, his only choice was to work in the fields where he was often treated inhumanely. Every two or so years my father would go back to my mother for a couple of months, until my mother got tired of it. She packed one outfit for each of her eight children and came looking for my father at the border town of Mexicali, B.C. My oldest sibling was about 14 years old, with very little education, and my youngest brother was about a year old; two years later I was born. As anyone can possibly imagine, my parents and siblings really struggled to settle with such a large family and being first generation migrants to Mexicali, B.C., Mexico. Within a couple of years, my siblings caught up with their education and started to dream about immigrated to the United States. My older sister, then 17, filled out all the necessary documents to attain U.S. residency, but my father could only afford to pay for the oldest four children and my mother (before they became over the age of 18). As soon as they were able to cross the border, my older siblings packed some of their belongings and immigrated to Indio California, the city in which we currently reside. Five years later, my father was able to save and apply for the five remaining children s residency, the two youngest ones actually qualified as derivative of an American citizen, which 2 makes a huge difference, since we were given citizenship without having to test for naturalization. Once in the United States, my life was not easy at all: it actually got a bit more complicated and challenging before it got any better. I was just about to enter my teenage years; I did not speak English; I grew up in a poor, but very close community and immigrated to another poor community, but very distant and quite solitary. I was very confused, I tried to assimilate and acculturate but it was too much to take at once. Seeing kids kissing was traumatizing enough, but to know some of my classmates were pregnant and others were gang affiliated and drug addicts was a bit much. I tried to fit in, but was constantly bullied for my inability to relate and mostly because I could not speak the language in order to defend myself or even have a reaction, I could not understand what they were saying, but most importantly, I could not understand why they were so mean to me I was sweet then. Anyhow, my life at home was troubled too, my mother was very strict and there was very little to no communication between her and me, or anyone in my family for that matter. I remembered being in trouble all the time because my mother couldn t understand my change or the challenges I was experiencing in school. Eventually, I started fighting back and started to worry more about my goals and dreams instead of trying to make others happy. High school years were fairly simple, in the emotional area, but rather challenging physically. I worked throughout my high school years in very physically demanding jobs like corn picking and other times two jobs at once. Society, 3 family and friends often discouraged me; therefore, I learned to keep my dreams and hopes very quiet. I was usually exhausted, missed a lot of school, but my dreams were intact and I was committed to my success. Academic Challenges After graduating from high school, I went straight to the closest university, University of California, Riverside (UCR). But, just as I was getting ready to move in the UCR dorms, I found out I was pregnant. I was happy, but I knew my life had taken a very different turn. I moved in the dorms, told my parents my situation and they asked me (as expected in my culture) to marry my son s father, which I did. I continued my education but not without challenges. By this time, I had been in this country for five years, attending college with very limited English. Although I had my husband, I always felt very lonely. Being the first person in my whole family and surroundings to attend college in the United States made it extremely difficult for me. I did not have anyone to speak about my challenges in college; I did not have any friends; my parenting situation and my language limitations made me very self-conscious, timid, and introversive. Classes were too large, courses were challenging, and I didn t know how to navigate the system, I did not know how to ask for help. In my eyes, everyone seemed to know what they were doing, where they were going; and I was extremely embarrassed to ask for help given my difficulty communicating in English. I knew I had to get over my fear, but every time I tried to communicate 4 with people, they seemed to get frustrated, misinterpret my words or simply did not give my voice enough credit. Once I became pregnant with my second child, during spring quarter of my sophomore year, I decided to change schools because commuting was hard, classes were hours apart, and traffic was horrible; I remember having to wait for classes in different restaurant parking lots on freezing cold days during my second trimester of gestation. Fortunately, they had just opened the California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert campus; it ended up being the perfect solution. Although discouraged by one of the university counselors, I continued taking classes, but because my original major was not being offered, I ended up having to take many prerequisite courses at the local community college, College of the Desert. Having a family, working part time while attending college full time was a rather difficult task. Even though I had a lot of support from my family, it was extremely hard for me to relate to anyone. People my age who went to college did not have a family, and people who I could relate regarding family were much older and were not attending college. I truly believe my struggles have a direct effect in the way I experience and see the world today; it definitely impacts my research study and possible interpretation of others experiences. I know for a fact that racism, sexism, marginalization, oppression and discrimination were psart of my daily experiences, but I can honestly assure that I never focused on it. I navigated through all the challenges without analyzing situations or second-guessing the 5 responses or behaviors of others; I was extremely naïve. My experiences in this program certainly changed my views and perceptions. I have learned to accept that I will continue to be a female, immigrant and English language learner from a low social economic status with limited social and cultural capital challenged by society, but empowered by those same challenges and with a purpose. Having gone and overcome multiple personal and educational challenges in partial result of being a Latina immigrant in the United States has made me aware of the significance of having mentors and role models individuals can relate to. Throughout my different life experiences, I did not necessarily have a particular mentor I would refer to for advice, but I certainly had role models that significantly and positively impacted some of my most successful decisions. Therefore, I am extremely interested in finding out the extent to which mentors impact the academic achievement of Mexican Immigrants in the United States educational system and how role models of similar heritage impact one s success. Statement of the Problem English Language Learners (ELL s) are one of the most vulnerable groups within the educational system and academia. The majority of ELL s in the United States and in California speak Spanish as their primary language, 79% and 83% respectively (Gandara, Rumberger, Maxwell-Jolly, & Callahan, 2003). Most of the time, ELL s live in poverty, formal educatio
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