My research aims to advance understandings of the impact that an institution of higher education can have on the integration and acculturation of its minority students. I look specifically at the experiences of refugee students from varied countries of origin at Lakeview Community College (LCC) in upstate New York. I build upon existing scholarship on institutional organization and migrant identity formation, and aim to fill gaps in literature regarding the role that a community college can play in facilitating or impeding the integration and acculturation of refugee students. Through qualitative interviews with refugee students, I explore the influences that refugee networks, English language acquisition, and family life have on refugee students’ acculturation process and ability to integrate at LCC. Through qualitative interviews with LCC staff members, I examine the challenges of educating refugee students, as well as the impacts of informal and formal student support services on minority students. My findings illustrate that LCC staff members implicitly and explicitly transmit institutional values of diversity and inclusion to refugee students, who then undergo the process of acculturation accordingly. Refugee students’ appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism leads them to experience challenges navigating between their LCC life and traditional ethnic family life. This study underscores the importance of supporting refugee students holistically by taking into account their backgrounds and family pressures. Ultimately, LCC’s multicultural campus and ability to integrate refugee students can serve as a model for other universities looking to better the experiences of minority students on campus.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Jaime Kucinskas


Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.