Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


Najja Kofi Baptist

Committee Member

Angie Maxwell

Second Committee Member

Xavier Medina Vidal


Cultural Studies, Identity, Individual & Family Studies, Hispanic American Studies, Latinos, Nuevo South, Representation


Por una Vida Mejor, a sentiment that is shared amongst the Latino community. How this sentiment fares in the pursuit of higher education has been largely understudied. I analyze how Latino college students navigate the sociopolitical environment in Arkansas in their pursuit of middle-class certification to help their family and fulfill the American dream. In this thesis I offer an analysis to understand Latinos in the Nuevo South. I use data from the 2021 Latino College Students Navigating the Sociopolitical Environment in Arkansas survey through the lens of Funds of Knowledge (Velez-Ibanez and Greenberg 1992). I conduct a quantitative analysis of the different factors that influence the pursuit of higher education for Latinos in the new destination, Nuevo South. I find that linguistic assimilation plays a significant role in Latinos pursuit of higher education to help the family. I also find that experiences with discrimination among Latino students in the Nuevo South influence their assessments of their educational and political leaders.