First Advisor

Michael J. Smith

Date of Publication

Spring 4-21-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




First-generation college students -- United States -- Sociological aspects -- Case studies, Urban universities and colleges -- United States -- Sociological aspects -- Case studies, Women college students -- United States -- Sociological aspects -- Case studies, Low-income college students -- United States -- Sociological aspects -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 258 pages)


This study sought to explore the lived experiences of five female, first-generation, low-income students who attend a metropolitan commuter university, and investigate how a structured undergraduate research experience exerts influence on the women's academic and social involvement. A qualitative case study with a narrative and grounded theory analysis was selected as the most appropriate approach for exploring this topic and addressing the guiding research questions. Interview and journal data were collected and analyzed to identify significant themes. The importance of finding an academic home, the significance of interacting with faculty and peers, and the validation of a metropolitan commuter university education through a scholar development process emerged as significant findings. Implications and recommendations on programmatic and institutional levels are included, as well as suggestions for future research.


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Persistent Identifier