Summer 8-13-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Jill Watson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Judy Auger

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Dianna Seng


Research on refugees and refugee students is often done second hand by researchers who are non-refugees. The opportunities to research, write, and tell their story first hand are minimal. This capstone paper is a first-hand narrative from a refugee student who overcame cultural dissonance, poverty and the struggle of identity to have a successful career leading an English Learner (EL) program in the state of Minnesota. The purpose of this research study is to identify what support measures are needed to help refugee students defeat their barriers in order to achieve their academic and personal goals. This research utilizes the study of personal life stories exploring the refugee and refugee students’ journey to identify four themes of struggle and three themes of support. The results suggest a coordinated system of support between the school and community is vital to integrate refugee students to help them achieve academic and personal success.

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