McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Angie Cerezo

Cerezo.jpg

Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • Linda Serra Hagedorn, Ph.D.

Department

  • Education

McNair Project

Exploring the Motivations, Aspirations, and Scholastic Engagement of Latino and African American Participants of the Fulfillment Fund in South Los Angeles

The motivations, educational and occupational aspirations as well as the scholastic engagement of ten Latino and African American at-risk high school students who are participants of the Fulfillment Fund in South Los Angeles were explored through in-depth interviews and school transcripts. Using a content analysis of the interviews, it became evident that family, followed by the self, environment, and friends, were the primary motivations of these students. In addition, the majority of the students aspired to pursue higher education and professional careers. However, through the evaluation of the students' transcripts (attendance & their grade point average), most students appear scholastically disengaged and not likely to pursue their aspirations. Several factors can be attributed to this disengagement, some of which became known through the interviews. Implications for the students' families, educational institutions, and further research are delineated.