Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Lori Hunter

Second Advisor

Amy Wilkins

Third Advisor

Kate Fischer


This study sought to gain greater insight as to how Hispanic/Latino Americans understand their ethnic identity in a predominantly white institution. Previous literature has revealed various factors that contribute to the formation of a Hispanic ethnic identity, as well as how this identity shifts throughout various periods of life. The present study utilizes an inductive analysis of interviews with eight self-identified Hispanic/Latino undergraduates at a predominantly white university. Findings revealed two dominant pathways participants took upon entrance to the University of Colorado Boulder. Along with each pathway were polarized attitudes and subsequent behaviors demonstrating the effects of being submerged within a predominantly white institution as a racial and ethnic minority. This preliminary study contributes to literature on Hispanic/ Latino racial and ethnic identity, and the navigation of such identity, within the United States.