The United States (U.S.) Army and the nation have a growing population of Hispanics. Yet Hispanics are still lagging in filling white-collar positions in the U.S. and Army. The Army has taken notice and implemented the Hispanic Access Initiative (HAI) through its Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at colleges and universities that are classified as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). It has done this in order to recruit more Hispanic Officers into its Officer Corps. This study follows seven Hispanic students and discusses their experiences with ROTC at an HSI. They faced the same issues many Hispanic students deal with when attending an institution of higher learning. In addition, they also had the added responsibility of completing all the required work for ROTC. In an effort to become leaders in the Army, these students overcame traditional challenges Hispanics face, and they graduated from college. A qualitative study was conducted with the seven students to understand what made them successful in completing their four-year college degrees. Their phenomenological experiences highlighted four main themes from their responses: (a) challenges, (b) benefits, (c) support system, and (d) role models. These themes surfaced at one point or another throughout their education. In the end, the goal to graduate and be commissioned into the U.S. Army was reached by each of the former students. As a result of this study, colleges and universities can look to ROTC to increase their graduation rates among Hispanic students. Since the Hispanic population is continuing to increase, it is in the interest of colleges to graduate more Hispanics in order to provide highly qualified graduates for a large number of white-collar jobs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; United States. Army -- Reserve Officers' Training Corps; Hispanic American students; Hispanic Americans -- Education (Higher)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DellaNeve, James;