Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Rhondda R. Thomas

Committee Member

Dr. David Blakesley

Committee Member

Dr. Ufuk Ersoy

Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Pyle


I was once told there is a person in the world who has locked within his or her mind the framework for the cure for cancer or even the ability to create an energy model that will revolutionize how society consumes natural resources. Now imagine if I told you I have seen that person alive and well working as an oil well driller on a rig in Mentone, Texas. The first question most people would ask is, “Why is the person drilling in the middle of nowhere Texas instead of impacting the world by way of displaying his or her incredible innovative potential?” This scenario is the basis of my study. I want to bring to the forefront the stories of the rural minoritized students whose innovation has been discarded, overlooked, and erased because it has consistently been deemed irrelevant or unimportant by the collegiate world.

In consideration of the alienation and isolation that these minoritized students face, I am proposing an autoethnographic study that merges cultural and social issues related to the divisive code-switching rhetoric minoritized students are forced to utilize in institutions of higher learning and the narratives about the architecture of the academic buildings they are forced to inhabit. I will analyze how higher education institutions negate these students’ ethnic diversity and innovative potential by coercing them into silence or submission, forcing them to assimilate, discouraging them through persuasive reasoning, or isolating them in the built environment. These students leave the safety of their small environments hoping to learn from or contribute to the collegiate world, only to discover that the universities they have aspired to join will overlook and devalue them until they leave or assimilate into the predetermined role the school has designed for them. My interviews with various high school students will document their experiences with the collegiate world and how their vision, direction, and contributions to higher education institutions were stifled, controlled, neglected, or silenced.



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