Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jessup-Anger, Jody

Second Advisor

Caulfield, Jay

Third Advisor

Delgado-Guerrero, Marla


Research on the leadership experiences of Latinx college students and diverse populations suggests differences in the way these populations experience leadership on the college campus when compared to their White counterparts. These differences put Latinx students and other diverse student populations at a disadvantage and on the margins of leadership education. This qualitative, grounded theory study explored the leadership experiences of 11 undergraduate Latinx college students in the United States. The theory inducted from the data, and the three-stage model, brought to light three themes and 19 processes that explain how Latinx students become “revolutionary leaders” in college. A revolutionary Latinx student leader is a change agent on the college campus, taking purposeful action toward equity, inclusion, and justice. By engaging in the struggle for change (stage one), Latinx students become revolutionary leaders (stage two) who engage in positional leadership roles on the college campus (stage three) to make a difference. Latinx students must progress through the stages with determination, commitment, strength, resilience, courage, persistence, drive, and a selfless mindset. Latinx students develop into revolutionary leaders by challenging negative stereotypes, engaging in student activism, navigating White spaces effectively, and embracing Latinx culture/identity. Students committed to fundamental change and advancing the Latinx community develop critical skills and abilities to trailblaze as first-generation bilingual, bicultural students. Family members, role models, and communities influence Latinx students positively as ecosystems of support. Latinx students counteract negative influences, such as the lack of Latinx representation and mainstream societal expectations, by persisting through the struggles, building resiliency, and practicing leadership. As formal Latinx student organization leaders, students work toward positive social change and equity for all Latinx students. As revolutionary leaders, Latinx students make a difference on the college campus, find fulfillment in the struggle, and aspire to graduate from college despite the struggle. Engaging in formal leadership roles during college is one of the highest expressions of leadership for students in the study. The discussion of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations provide a framework for Latinx student leadership development and suggestions for practice and research.

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