Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Debbiesiu L . Lee

Second Committee Member

Ji Shen

Third Committee Member

Lydia P. Buki

Fourth Committee Member

Isis Artze-Vega


Hispanics are poised to change the U.S. demographic landscape and account for one-third of the national population in the next forty years (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Yet, presently Hispanic students are the most underrepresented ethnic group in higher education with the lowest college completion rates the country (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015b). Furthermore, Hispanic women are reported to attain only 3% of all STEM bachelor’s degrees nationally (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015a). The purpose of this study was to examine student engagement as a factor that predicts academic performance and intention to persist in STEM for Hispanic college students and in particular, Hispanic women. Data collected at a public, four-year, Hispanic Serving Institution was analyzed using Hierarchical Linear Regression. Results revealed a significant, but negative relationship between academic performance and the amount of time spent engaged with mentors, for both male and female Hispanic students. There was low variability found for intention to persist, with 85% of Hispanic women indicating intention to graduate from college with a degree in STEM. Study results are interpreted in the context of Hispanic Serving Institutions where Hispanics students are the majority.


STEM; Latina; Hispanic females; mentor; peer relationships