In this study, Michelle M. Espino uncovers the ways in which twenty-five Mexican American women PhDs made meaning of conflicting messages about the purpose of higher education as they navigated within and through educational structures and shifting familial expectations. Participants received consejos, or nurturing advice, from parents and extended family members that simultaneously promoted educational attainment and raced-gendered heteronormativity as a means of survival within and resistance against cultural and societal constraints. Lessons learned from conflicting consejos later informed how the participants resisted racism and sexism they encountered in their professional careers. Reflecting a Chicana feminist perspective, the findings illustrate the various social, psychological, and cultural locations that participants (re)crossed in conceptualizing Mexican American womanhood in the United States. This study offers an opportunity to explore and interrogate the systems of oppression that affect Mexican American women and their educational advancement and adds to understandings about the complexities and constraints that Mexican American women encounter during their academic life course.

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