Consistent with other crises, the Covid-19 pandemic portends substantial challenges to Latino college students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees and members of lower-income families. Significant increases in the percentage of Latino students enrolled in institutions of higher education are offset by Latinos’ persistent lag in college completion compared to other racial/ethnic groups (Excelencia in Education 2015). Disruptions created by Covid-19 threaten to exacerbate existing inequities and create new challenges to Latino student success. While Latinos are often characterized as “at-risk,” several studies have found that many Latino youth demonstrate resilience in crises which allows them to recover and adapt to adverse life situations. This project seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic on Latino university students in a Hispanic-serving and research level 1 Institution with one of the most diverse Latino student populations in the country. We combine survey data with a data visualization project that uses ArcGIS Story Map to engage Latino students in project-based learning. StoryMap combines interviews, text, interactive maps, and multimedia content to allow students to share their experiences with the pandemic in digital form. These stories can be examined for commonalities and the resources and adaptive strategies used by participants. Our goal is to provide needed information on the support structures, networks, and campus climate necessary to advance Latino college student well-being and academic achievement and to build a model of resilience available to all students.
Executive Director, Inter-University Program on Latino Research; Director, Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Houston
Director, IUPLR Houston Office, University of Houston
Associate Professor, Political Science and Associate Director, Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Houston