Academic and Social Identity Development in the College Assistance Migrant Program

Have you ever wondered how different undergraduate experiences can impact your career aspirations? “I learned that I don’t have to change”: Migrant/seasonal farmworker undergraduates’ experiences at academic conferences is a study that reflects how undergraduate research can influence the academic and social identity development of students, particularly students from historically underrepresented groups.

Project Subject Area                                                                                                                  

  • Education

Project Details                                                                                                                           

This study explores the conference-going experiences of first-generation, Mexican American undergraduates from migrant/seasonal farmworker backgrounds in the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Arizona State University. Our research affirms that undergraduate conference participation strengthens students’ sense of self-efficacy, or their ability to incorporate existing skills and competencies into their academic identities. However, conference experiences were most impactful when students experienced their cultural and academic identities as integrated. CAMP students also saw their development of self-efficacy through conference experiences as relational and connected to their ability to “give back” to their communities. Undergraduate research experiences can be integrated with a “border pedagogy” approach that brings students’ cultural knowledge into dialogue with academic knowledge production.

"The larger study from which these data come began in 2017, during the second year of ASU CAMP’s first five-year funding cycle, when the Project Director invited O’Connor, the first author, to collect qualitative data to augment the quantitative data that staff were required to report to the U.S. Department of Education in order to demonstrate the breadth of the program’s impact. The first author is a White, non-Hispanic faculty member in ASU’s School of Transborder Studies, which evolved from the university’s Department of Chicano/a Studies; he has a history of teaching and research in majority Mexican American educational settings. The first author and a research team of 11 graduate and undergraduate student researchers designed and carried out an ethnographic monitoring project to document the program’s impact on migrant students’ academic and social identity development at the university."

Research Team                                                                                                                           

  • Brendan O'Connor, Principal Investigator, Associate Professor (School of Transborder Studies) at Arizona State University
  • Seline Szkupinski Quiroga, ASU CAMP Program Director (School of Transborder Studies) at Arizona State University
  • Hannah Kirsch, graduated from Arizona State University in 2021 with a degree in biological sciences. 
  • Nicole Maestas, undergraduate student at Arizona State University with a major in political science and minors in Spanish, Russian, and statistics.
  • Oscar Mancinas, graduate student (School of Transborder Studies) from Arizona State University 
  • Megan Troxel Deeggraduate research assistant; PhD student.



Access full article here