Denise Mendez L&S Social Sciences
Navigating Higher Education: The Student Parent Experience
Student parents, a subset of non-traditional students, face unique challenges balancing family, school, work, health, and finances, making it difficult to pursue higher education. My research aims to explore how student parents develop and utilize social capital compared to their non-traditional peers to navigate their undergraduate journey. Social capital, defined as the social resources an individual has access to through their social network, is a vital factor when determining educational access. My research will bring attention to the experiences of student parents and differentiate them from other non-traditional identities. UC Berkeley is one of the few universities that has a center dedicated to the success of student parents. I hope that my research will provide information that sheds light on the student parent experience, leading to improved support for current and future student parents and their families on all college campuses. Ultimately, obtaining a higher education degree can improve not only the lives of student parents but also their families.