Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Cheryl D. Ching

Second Advisor

Jay Dee

Third Advisor

Dina C. Maramba


As a panethnic label, “Asian American” represents over 20 national origin groups as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau (Budiman & Ruiz, 2021). Although Pilipina/x/os are one of the largest Asian American groups in the United States, they have been misunderstood within Asian America due to their colonial history as well as East Asian hegemony. Asian American support structures in colleges and universities, such as Asian American cultural centers and Asian American studies programs, are designed to focus on the Asian American community, including Pilipina/x/o Americans. Research suggests, however, that they tend to privilege East Asian American groups.

In this study, I examined how Asian American Cultural Centers and Asian American Studies at two institutions support Pilipina/x/o American students, if at all. Conducting a multiple-site case study allowed me to understand the contexts of Garnet University (GU) and Violet University (VU) as sites for Asian American and Pilipina/x/o student support. Additionally, through this case study, I sought to understand how Pilipina/x/o American students experience Asian American support structures at these sites.

The nineteen participants in this study provided key insights into how Asian American support structures address the needs of Pilipina/x/o American students at GU and VU, and the general challenges faced by Asian Americans on college campuses. Specifically, I found that (1) Asian American was a complicated identity and concept for the participants to grapple with; (2) the impacts of East Asian hegemony on Pilipina/x/o Americans; (3) students saw Pilipina/x/o American Student Organizations as important informal sites for support; and (4) practitioners in AACCs expressed institutional challenges with supporting Asian American and Pilipina/x/o American students.

Ultimately, at the sites, Asian American support structures fostered both ethnic and panethnic identity development for Pilipina/x/o students. Based on my findings, Museus’s (2014) CECE model, Nadal’s (2004) PAID model, and literature on Pilipina/x/o American students in higher education, I propose the Pilipina/x/o Navigation of Asian American Panethnicity (PNAAP) framework. PNAAP outlines how precollege contexts, ethnic and racial identity development, and campus contexts influence how Pilipina/x/o Americans understand their connection to Asian American panethnicity. The dissertation concludes with implications for future research and practice.


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