School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Fred Milacci


Advanced Placement, Chicana Feminism, High Achieving, Hispanic Females, Latina


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology


This transcendental phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of Southern California, Hispanic female high school graduates who were enrolled in AP courses while in high school. The life experiences for Hispanic women have been largely ignored by the literature, with much of the research on Hispanics primarily focused on the achievement gap, dropout rates, or giftedness. Although they may excel academically, many high-achieving Hispanic women do not reach their full potential. Often high-achieving Hispanic females find it difficult to reconcile the discrepancy between the culture, familial expectations and roles, and their own personal ambitions. The following four research questions framed this study: “How do Hispanic female graduates from Southern California high schools describe their experiences in AP classes?, How do participants describe the role their family culture, cultural heritage, and American culture has in their academic experiences?, What relationship do participants describe between their gender and their academic experiences?, and How do participants describe the intersection of class, gender and culture as impacting their academic experiences? A Chicana feminist lens and Bandura’s social learning theory were used to examine the findings. Findings of this study showed three themes: high-achieving Hispanic women in high school AP classes experienced a bi-cultural conflict between Hispanic culture and American culture, the familismo, and the environment of the AP courses themselves played a significant role in their academic success.