Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Bills, David

First Committee Member

Sanders, Katrina

Second Committee Member

McNabb, Scott

Third Committee Member

Rocklin, Thomas

Fourth Committee Member

Yarbrough, Donald


Research on the educational and occupational aspirations of U.S. youth born in Africa is not only rare, but some studies have assumed that these immigrants are a monolithic group. However, they differ in experiences according to whether they are refugees, asylum seekers, or voluntary immigrants coming from various countries in Africa. These immigrants also come from different countries with different ethnicities, cultures, religions, and races. This case study makes such a needed distinction based on a small sample of high school students from Northern Sudan who lived in a small Midwest U.S. city. Diversity in ethnicities and cultures not only affects educational and occupational aspirations but also impacts how the aspirations are formed, maintained, and achieved. The Sudanese refugee youth who participated in this study had high educational and occupational aspirations, with all of them aspiring to obtain a college degree and some intending to achieve careers in medicine, dentistry, law, and engineering. These high aspirations were backed by high academic scores. Almost all students in this study came from well-educated families despite their current low socio-economic status (SES). Their current SES and minority status (MS) did not seem to affect their aspirations and academic performance. This study showed that educational and occupational aspirations are formed when students have strong social support from parents, significant others, teachers, peers, and their community, all of whom influence and reward high educational expectations and enforce the students' cultural obligations.


Sudanese Refugee Youth


1, vi, 123 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 116-123).


Copyright 2010 Anne Omwango Kiche