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Who are we? 

We are student co-researchers who are part of the 1st photovoice cohort for the Using Our Voices to Transform HSIs research project. Our cohort chose the name Mariposas con Voces or "Butterflies with Voices" as butterflies are a metaphor representing spiritual rebirth, transformation, change, hope, and life. Given that this project aims to invoke change at an institutional level, we chose this name to symbolize the transformation we hope to achieve. , the name for the project symbolizes this transformation.

We are from various departments on campus; all of us are 1st generation, a majority of us are transfer students. Read more about our team here

What is photovoice?

Photovoice is a research methodology. We have used this methodology as part of our project. As part of this method research participants engage in cycles of taking photographs related to the research questions and engaging in critical discussions about those photos as they relate to the project goals. 


The three major aims of photovoice are:

  • allow participants to document their lives on their own terms;

  • to raise critical consciousness among participants; and

  • to create positive change through reaching out to decision-makers using the photographs and research project.

Our Process

We met every Friday for 3 hours throughout the spring 2022 semester. We began the process learning about photovoice, ethics and team-building.

We conducted 8 rounds of photovoice. In each round student co-researchers took photographs in response to specific prompts. Together the research team engaged in critical discussions about the photographs as they related to our project aim. We then determined the next session’s prompt.

Our Prompts:

  1. How does Sac State, as a Hispanic Serving Institution, support your success? 

  2. What are resources where I feel represented OR do not feel represented? What resources are for Latinx students OR not for Latinx students? What makes this resource for us students?

  3. Where is there Latinx representation? Where is it missing?

  4. How do we feel and/or create community and empowerment OR  Where/how do we not feel empowered/helpless? 

  5. How is Sac State being performative AND/OR how can it represent Latinx cultures (heterogeneity; not only Mexican)?

  6. What does success look like?

  7. When things get hard, how do we overcome? 

  8. When our imposter syndrome is high, why is that happening? What is happening? AND/OR How is Sac State being performative & checking the box?

We generated 161 photos across 8 sessions.

We conducted the first seven rounds back-to-back and then we had a session in which all the photos and notes from previous sessions were reflected on to identify cross-cutting themes and to identify the final prompt for the last photovoice round. After the 8th round of photovoice we engaged in pile-sorting where we split into smaller groups to sort the photos into thematic piles. Each group presented their thematic groups and we collectively engaged in identifying a final set of themes, representative photos and wrote narratives for the themes.


We have presented our findings to the campus community in May 2022 over a 3-day exhibit. We have also presented our findings to at the CSU Student Success Network Conference 2022 and the Association for the Study of Higher Education 2022 conference. 

MCV exhibit 2 22_edited.jpg
CSU SSN pic 2 22.png
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