¡Échale Ganas!: Student Engagement Experiences of First-Generation Latinx Collegiate Student-Athletes
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Latinxs continue to be underrepresented in the ranks of college graduates despite increasing in the proportion of U.S. population and undergraduate student bodies. Approximately 6% of Hispanics participate in intercollegiate athletics, which is one type of extracurricular activity among many others that are available to students. Overall, research links involvement in such campus services and activities to increased rates of student persistence to degree attainment. However, a large gap in literature currently exists concerning studies that explore the experiences of Latinx student-athletes. As such, the purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of first-generation Hispanic student-athletes who participate in NCAA Division I non-revenue sports at HSIs as well as PWIs in regard to student engagement services and activities as it pertains to their persistence to degree attainment. Grounded in Latinx Critical and Rendón’s validation theories, this qualitative study found athletic participation to be beneficial for first-generation Latinx student-athletes’ persistence to degree attainment. Specifically, Latinx student-athletes who participated in this study built a support network from their teammates, athletic advisors, and coaches. However, given the time demands of their sport, most of the student-athletes did not engage outside of the athletic community on their respective campus. Moreover, first-generation Latinxs relied on their cultural and familial capital to persist to degree attainment. Additionally, while the student- athletes perceived all campuses as welcoming, the setting of the university, HSI or PWI, made a difference in the strategies Latinxs utilized to carve out a sense of belonging and to find their Hispanic niche on campus.