Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Katalin Szelényi

Second Advisor

Cheryl D. Ching

Third Advisor

Dina C. Maramba


This dissertation explores the invisibility of Pilipina American narratives in higher education by investigating colonialism and colonial mentality and how they may shape the experiences of Pilipina American undergraduate students in higher education. This study was framed by Pinayism (Tintiangco-Cubales, 2005; Tintiangco-Cubales & Sacramento, 2009), Strobel’s (2001) decolonization framework, and the Colonial Mentality Scale (CMS) (David & Okazaki, 2006b). Participants reflected upon their life stories to explore and make meaning of the ways their lives have been informed by events that have occurred and the messages they received from their families, peers, teachers, and communities. Participants also engaged with indigenous, colonial, and Pilipinx American history, to investigate how the knowledge of history and colonial mentality might shape their identities, their academic goals, and career aspirations. This study also included a Bayanihan community dialogue with the purpose of bringing Pinays together to collectively delve into the ways their narratives are connected, engage in a process of decolonization, and re-envision themselves and empower their communities on their campuses and beyond. The results of the study offer knowledge of Pilipina American students to student affairs administrators and faculty to gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of their experiences. Recommendations for practice include providing the necessary support and opportunities for Pinay students to continue their learning, decolonizing, and healing journeys, in order to support their sense of self and belonging, engagement on campus, and academic success.