Write an argumentative synthesis essay using Make Your Home Among Strangers and at least one other credible source of your choice. The assignment has two purposes. The first purpose is to critique and synthesize the arguments of authors, experts, and researchers about the experience of first-generation college students. The second purpose is to take a position on the issue (first generation) and support your stand with details and examples from these authors, experts, researchers, and your own personal experiences as undergraduate students. Use the theme of betrayal and mentors. Through this writing, you will reflect on your lower-division general education experience and how that has shaped the person you are today. In addition to furthering your self-knowledge, you will develop intercultural knowledge and the ability to recognize and navigate diversity through investigation of the cultural values and history, language, traditions, arts and social institutions of a group of people.

For an essay on Make Your Home Among Strangers and the first-generation college experience that draws on experts’ and researchers’ insights, articles in education, sociology, American studies, and literary journals would be appropriate sources. Because the novel’s protagonist is Cuban American and interested in science, articles focusing on Latino/a/x students in STEM fields would be useful.

Expert Answers

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Jennine Capó Crucet’s novel Make Your Home Among Strangers focuses on the experiences of Cuban American student Lizet Ramirez, who is a first-generation US college student. It follows her growing interest in the natural sciences and the personal and academic challenges she faces in school and at home.

For an essay about the first-generation immigrant student experience, one could consult primary sources such as personal memoirs by or interviews with students. One example is a profile of a Ph.D. researcher at South Dakota State University. In addition, secondary sources by specialists in disciplines such as education, sociology, or American Studies ay be helpful. As Lizet is presented as a science student, specialized articles on Latino/a/x students in STEM would be particularly relevant. One 2016 dissertation addresses this subject at a Florida four-year university.

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