Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Susan Semel

Subject Categories

Educational Methods | Liberal Studies | Other Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Identity, Grenada, United States, New Orleans


What truly informs success? Is it one’s education, career type, and socioeconomic status? I believe that more than ever before these three criteria appear to define our understanding of what success is. However, the development and transformation of education in the United States, which is marred by racism, has historically disadvantaged segments of our population especially in cities with a predominantly black population. New Orleans being a perfect example. Hurricane Katrina put the spotlight on education in New Orleans as the storm’s devastation of the city exposed the myriad of problems education was facing. This thesis is an exploration of my life and a discussion of the attitudes I have experienced towards education and educating in the United States. It illustrate that the way education is perceived, the support a student receives, and the attitudes about who is deserving can be caging or liberating for the student. Further, it discusses other aspects affecting the success of education including socioeconomic status, ethnicity, funding, and politics and demonstrates that education leads to transformation through a synopsis of three films, each with a different education focus.