Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2019

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Philip Pendley

Second Advisor

Jonathan Greenberg

Third Advisor

Tamerin Capellino


Purpose: The purpose of this heuristic phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of former Hispanic or Latin teen mothers that achieved a master’s degree or higher. Another purpose of the study was to describe the recommendations of the former teen mothers with regard to helping both present and future teen mothers accomplish these academic milestones.

Methodology: This study explored and discovered the human experience of former teen mothers to build a comprehensive understanding of the shared experience. This heuristic inquiry approach aimed to draw general meaning by revealing the emerging commonalities that were described.

Findings: The findings in this qualitative study exposed three overarching outcomes yielded from the culmination of data. The findings resulted in the explanation of the cultural shift in support systems, the experience generated a paradigm shift in the women, and garnering strength and empowerment in the number of women that experienced the phenomenon. The plausibility of the outcomes is explained as a result of the findings in the stories of the women and literature.

Conclusions: Conclusions were drawn from the indicators, themes, and advice that were identified through the qualitative data. The advice was framed around grouped themes and overall conclusions. Through the advice, the former Hispanic or Latin teen mothers sought to share words of wisdom and motivation as they outlined a pathway for others should they choose to achieve similar academic goals as pregnant teens or teen motherhood.

Recommendations: The recommendations include expanding the study to take in a long-term phenomenological study of Hispanic or Latin teen mothers as they achieve a master’s degree or beyond as well as broaden the breadth of study to focus on former Hispanic or Latin teen fathers post-graduate degree academic achievements. Further, it is recommended to magnify the study on both American Indian and Alaska Native former teen mothers that went on to earn a bachelor’s degree or beyond. In addition, it is recommended to conduct a study to evaluate the impact on communities with negative messaging verses positive messaging on teen pregnancy outcomes.