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Date of Award

Spring 5-27-2021

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Knaus

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Flores-Cailloux



Throughout the Pacific Northwest there are a total of 12 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) with an average Latin@/x undergraduate full-time enrollment rate of 33.7 percent. In order to be designated as HSIs, institutions of higher education must have an enrollment rate of 25 percent or more students who identify as Latin@/x. HSIs became recognized in the late 1980s when a small number of higher education institutions enrolled a large number of Latin@/x students, yet did not have the resources to successfully educate the students (Excelencia, 2019). Since then, HSIs have consistently and continuously risen in Latin@/x enrollments. To date, there are 569 HSIs throughout the United States (U.S.) and they are expected to continue growing along with the Latin@/x population (Excelencia, 2020). Despite the number of HSIs in the U.S., many continue to perpetuate colonial Eurocentric educational practices, policies, and procedures. Most of the personnel demographic remains predominately occupied by white individuals, particularly in faculty and leadership positions.

The intent of this testimonio study was to learn about and highlight the experiences of Latin@/x students attending HSIs and the community cultural wealth they bring with them into the college classrooms and environment. Latin@/x students as People of Color are perceived as full of cultural poverty disadvantages instead of as individuals recognized as full of cultural knowledge, highly skilled and well connected (Yosso, 2005). This study utilized two Critical Race Theory (CRT) tenets racism as normative and white-framing as property and LatCrit to challenge ahistorical narratives. The theories are a proxy to demonstrate continued coloniality and focus on Latin@/x students’ aspects of community cultural wealth.