- The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D.: Abriendo Caminos
As the number of Latina/o students increases across the country, so does the urgency to understand their distinctive needs. Currently, only limited scholarly publications are available to address the concerns of Latina/os in the doctoral process.
Jeanett Castellanos, Alberta Gloria, and Mark Kamimura have done a phenomenal job of addressing doctoral degree attainment among Latina/o students with their book, The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D.: Abriendo Caminos. This edited volume fills a significant gap in the literature by serving as a resource for Latina/os who are either interested in pursuing a doctorate or who are currently in a doctoral program. Moreover, this book eloquently inserts the voices of the Latina/o community into the discourse of advanced doctoral education. A major goal of this book is to offer diverse perspectives on the Latina/o doctoral experience and to serve as a resource for students, faculty, and administrators.
The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D. provides a comprehensive overview of Latina/o education. The authors recognized that the educational pipeline at all levels must first be examined prior to addressing the doctoral experiences of Latina/os. In their preface, the authors share some of the historical underpinnings of Latina/o "miseducation" in the United States. The historical lens they offer suggests that the issues and challenges that Latina/os endured have a contemporary relevance. Oppression, invisibility, and marginality are present from early schooling experiences through pursuing the Ph.D.
In describing the pathway to the Ph.D., the authors invite readers to metaphorically envision a highway. This highway is representative of the drivers (Latina/os), roadblocks (challenges and struggles), routes (individual journeys), and destinations (completion of the Ph.D.) that few Latina/os have traveled. The theoretical framework of The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D. is presented using a three-pronged approach, which recognizes the intersectionality of psychological, social, and cultural factors that must be considered in holistically examining Latina/o educational experiences. Each chapter is written with a psychosociocultural approach, which ultimately serves as the framework throughout the book.
The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 addresses Latina/o education from kindergarten through the master's degree, describing the major challenges that contribute to limited Latina/o student achievement: poor resources, language barriers, and expectations of assimilation. A central point made during the latter portion of this section is that community colleges tend to be the primary entry point for Latina/o entrance into higher education.
Part 2 presents theoretical and conceptual analyses of the Latina/o doctoral journey. An important contribution of this section is the disaggregation of Latina/os by gender to provide a more in-depth discussion of the unique differences between male and female students in terms of their degree attainment and doctoral experiences.
Part 3 consists of personal narratives of Latina/o students who are pursuing their Ph.D.s in various academic disciplines. Consistent among their stories is the importance of family, maintaining one's identity, overcoming alienation, and remaining committed to degree completion. Their stories give [End Page 333] voice to the challenges and changes that Latina/os undergo as they pursue their doctorates. Most chapters include recommendations for students, faculty, and administrators regarding access for and retention of Latina/o doctoral students.
Overall, The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D. provides a thorough review of the issues impacting the pipeline to the Ph.D. for Latina/os. It examines such issues as gender, immigration status, family influence, country of origin, first-generation college students, marital status, and identity development. The authors also worked to dispel perceptions of the "monolithic" Latina/o community by including studies and testimonies that highlighted this population's diversity. Additionally, the authors placed a high value on providing space for the actual voices of Latina/o doctoral students. These students' testimonies offer a sense of validation to...