McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Patricia Gomes

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Major and Classification

American Studies and Ethnicity

Faculty Mentor

  • John Carlos Rowe, Ph.D.

Department

  • English

McNair Project

No Culture Left Behind: Reaching Native American Youth in Urban Los Angeles with Interactive Multimedia

Abstract
Although Los Angeles County is home to the largest urban Native American population in the United States, there is little educational achievement support available for young students of this ethnic group. This lack of support is a major contributing factor to the high drop out rates among Native American high school students. This study examines ethnic identity as a predictor of self-esteem among Native American youth. Eight Native American high school students (six females and two males) participated in a multimedia interactive course that promoted higher education opportunities. The research explores attachments to both the tribal nation the participant is a descendant of and the urban community they reside in. Participants completed a questionnaire to measure self-esteem and ethnic identity. Both ethnic Identity and self-esteem were determined by using a modified version of the MEIM Scale (Phinney, 1992). Results indicated that for Native American youth, ethnic identity was a significant predictor of self-esteem.