Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig

Second Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


National data reveals that college access is most challenging for traditionally underrepresented students, including minoritized, first-generation college attendees and students from low-income families (Gibbons & Borders, 2010). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand how Black first-generation college students (FGCS) from African or Caribbean immigrant families capitalized on Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth (CCW) to create and pursue college goals and aspirations. Participants were recent graduates from a suburban school district outside of the metropolitan area on the east coast and who were enrolled in their first or second year in college. The researcher answered the main research question, how does community cultural wealth within the communities of Black FGCS influence successful college ambitions? Data for this phenomenological study was sourced from semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups conducted via synchronous or asynchronous, participants' reflective journal prompt, and field notes. Data analysis employed coding and memoing to identify interrelating topics and subtopics guided by the research questions and CCW. The current study serves as a catalyst for educational advocates and policymakers to (a) reconceptualize cultural wealth/capital for Black FGCS as a strength-based perspective of empowering their college ambitions, (b) inspire commitment among educators to increase college access and retention for Black FGCS from immigrant families, and (c) eradicate the habit of perpetuating the deficit-based perception about FGCS and their ability to remain in the P-20 academic pipeline.