The population of Latino students is growing faster than any other ethnic group in U.S. public schools today; however, the number of Latino teachers throughout the nation has remained low. The Latino Educators of Tomorrow is a new and ambitious Latino educational career program designed to increase the number of Latino students entering teaching as a profession. This research addressed the following questions: 1) What do participants identify as influential in their trajectory towards becoming an educator, and why?; 2) How do LET instructors, acting in the role of mentors, influence participants' desires and plans to become educators, and why?; and 3) What external obstacles hinder the participants' aspirations to become educators, and why? This qualitative study examines the perspectives of 24 high-school and beginning college-age students who participated in the Latino Educators of Tomorrow (LET). Using open-ended surveys and semi-structured interviews, this study identified underlying themes regarding the influence of mentors on the participants' desires and plans to continue to major in education; the positive impact of mentors' appreciation of participants' culture; and the financial obstacles participants identified as hindering their obtaining a college degree. Findings point to the importance of cultural appreciation in mentoring relationships, specifically for these Latino students in the transition from high school to college. Theoretical implications suggest practical recommendations for cultural appreciation to be combined with existing mentoring theory to assist students in their educational goals.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





Cultural awareness and appreciation, Latino students, mentoring, high school, higher education, education careers