Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



Many students engage in Federal Work-Study as a means of additional income and part-time employment. However, few studies detail the program’s overall effectiveness and impact, especially from the perspectives of students of color. This qualitative study described, by way of multiple case study design, how Latinx students employed in at least one semester of an on-campus Federal Work-Study position make meaning of their employment experience. The researcher explored the varied experiences of six undergraduate Latina women employed through work-study through the theoretical lenses of happenstance, self-authorship, and career construction. Sources of evidence used for this study included interviews, documentation, written artifacts, and archival records.

Cross-case analysis revealed that participants developed transferable skills, valued mentorship, and appreciated the convenience and flexibility of their roles. Nevertheless, several students were unable to construct meaning behind their work-study experience because they misunderstood the necessary skills for their chosen careers. Implications for both P-12 educators and higher education stakeholders include fostering a culture of career readiness in educational settings and integrating learning and professional development as key aspects of the work-study experience.



Committee Chair

Curry, Jennifer