Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Murillo, Enrique


Latina/o/x are the fastest growing group in the United States and in the state of California. Higher education has also encountered a growth in Latina/o/x students pursuing higher education. Yet, despite this continuous rise higher education is less likely to retain the Latina/o/x student population. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenology study was to discover what factors of the Puente Program supported and prepared the Latina/o/x participants in facilitating transfer and college achievement during their undergraduate studies. Through the use of validation theory and the lived experiences of the participants, this study allows for a better understanding of the way Puentistaswere able to sustain validation throughout their undergraduate career and beyond. The Puente Program is constructed on the basis of three central components: academic (English courses), counseling, and mentoring. It aims at preparing students to transition from community college to four-year institutions. The significance contributions of this study will add to the factors of how participating in the program can be advantageous to the fastest growing group in higher education, the Latina/o/x student population.