By Genesis Carela
In 2018 Daisy Verduzco Reyes, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and El Instituto published Learning to be Latino: How Colleges Shape Identity Politics. In this book, she chronicles the identity formation process of Latinx students at three distinct higher education institutes in California (a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university). Reyes identifies how institutional arrangements affect the Latinx students’ social relationships. She examines the ways that total student enrollment, residential arrangements, student demographic, the relationship between students and administrators, and the integration of students through cultural centers and retention centers. Reyes simultaneously conducted fieldwork at all three campuses and all six organizations (two from each institution) from the fall of 2008 through the spring of 2010 and considered how the characteristics of each institution create an environment that influences how Latinx students interact with one another, identify themselves, and come to understand how they fit in. Her research demonstrated how various interactive processes at the Latinx organizations produced three different patterns of pan-ethnic identification: inclusive Latino identification, qualified Latino identification, and national origins identification/the rejection of a pan-ethnic identity.
More recently, Doctor Reyes has conducted follow-up fieldwork with the students from the liberal arts college, research university, and regional public university to acquire information about their various transitions into adulthood and how these alumni from different institutions fared after graduation. With funding provided by the Spencer Foundation, a research foundation focused exclusively on supporting educational research, Doctor Reyes was able to conduct interviews with approximately 60 students who are now between the ages of 27 and 38. As part of my Graduate Research Assistantship, I am aiding Doctor Reyes with the process of data analysis. We will shortly begin using qualitative data software to analyze the interviews from the Latinx Alumni. Doctor Reyes and I look forward to reporting the findings of this follow-up research.