Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Murillo, Enrique G.



This study explored the lived experiences of female Hijabi Muslim international students at a local Southern California university. A qualitative phenomenological design was implemented to explore from the students' perspective and in their voices; a reporting of what they encountered as they navigated the campus communities they must also learn to negotiate. Considering both the historical and current push for internationalization in higher education settings, coupled with the national climate of fear concerning Muslims within the United States, a Postcolonial framework was used to examine students' daily interactions, engagement, sense of belonging and inclusion, and campus "intellectual practices" with respect to representation in those practices. Data was collected through individual in-depth interviews with nine research participants. Each participant was asked a series of 10 semi-structured open-ended conversational questions that aligned with the 3 overarching research questions about their experiences in the classroom and other general campus settings. The findings illustrate participants’ individualized stories and nuanced perspectives and highlight the complicated experiences each one shared. In conclusion, recommendations for educational leaders, educational reform, and future research are considered.