Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program

Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literature; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Barbara Luka

Project Advisor 2

Nicole Caso

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The present project seeks to explore factors that will facilitate the acculturation of Latino students who attend selective colleges in theUnited States. The current project proposes that a sense of belonging is essential in order for underrepresented populations to achieve academic success. Campus community involvement is considered to be a factor in contributing towards Latino students’ sense of belonging and thus contributing to academic achievement. However, Latino students may experience anxiety about their ethnicity in such settings, which can hinder minority students from feeling comfortable in a college setting, where they are few in number. Literature from Mendoza-Denton, Pietrzak, &Downey(2008) and Mendoza-Denton & Page-Gould (2008) studies provide measures used for the experimental proposal of this project. The project summarizes these two studies and defines concepts such as ethnic and institutional identification. The race-based rejection sensitivity theory proposed in each study drives the current experiment proposal. The Baker (2008) study is used as well. This study relays the importance of community involvement for Latino college students. From this research several proposals are developed for college institutions to use when trying to engage underrepresented students such as Latinos. A tentative preliminary survey was given to a small population of Latino/Hispanic students at a small Liberal Arts college in order to validate the proposed experiment.

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