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Navigating Multiple Identities in Contrasting Spaces: Graduate Student Experiences of Marginality

Estee HernandezPresenter: Estee Hernandez

Institution: Florida State University

Professional Title: Doctoral Student

Estee is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at Florida State University. A native Tejana, she earned both her B.A. in French and her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Baylor University. Currently, her research focuses on the Latina doctoral student experience and social media counter-communities.


Roberto OrozcoPresenter: Roberto Orozco

Institution: Florida State University

Professional Title: Master’s Student

Roberto is a master’s student in the Higher Education program at Florida State University. A native Iowan, he earned both a B.S. in Marketing & International Business and a B.S. in Psychology from Iowa State University. Currently, his research focuses on Latino male masculinity and his efforts have been geared towards social justice initiatives.



Although graduate student populations are becoming increasingly diverse, academic culture as a whole has done little to shift towards inclusivity. Underrepresented graduate students who work closely with undergraduate students of similar backgrounds (e.g., student affairs professionals) are particularly susceptible to marginality, as they occupy multiple roles of student/advisor, mentee/mentor, and pupil/instructor. This program aims to serve as a counter-space for underrepresented graduate students to share their experiences in academia–both positive and negative–in a safe space. In community, we will work together to make meaning of these experiences, develop ways to persist despite marginality, and empower ourselves and our students to create change.

Learning Outcomes:

  • identify Anzaldúa’s (1987) Borderland Theory
  • reflect on individual and community experiences of marginalization in academia
  • develop initial steps towards positive change in higher education