Anna DiMelis

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Teacher Education

First Advisor

Christopher G. Robbins, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Wendy Burke, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ann R. Eisenberg, Ph.D.


This senior thesis is an autoethnographic study in which I retell and analyze my experiences engaging in student advocacy with other students in the College of Education (COE) at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). It consists of a reflection on my experiences, an analysis of personal communications between various members of the EMU faculty and me, and the meaning I now make or give to those experiences. I begin by providing both narrower and wider contexts to explain how I have come to advocacy work and what informs the value I place on it for fostering democratic civic engagement, including a sketch of a philosophical framework for education that values advocacy before I reflect on and analyze my experience as a student advocate in the COE at EMU. Themes identified in the analysis of my source materials include completing advocacy work on my own, advocacy work with peers, and advocacy work with faculty. The study finds that students need a safe place to learn how to be engaged citizens, they need to be taught how to be advocates for themselves at a young age, and students need their capacities to be able to be advocates built up by pulling out their strengths and helping them build their confidence and skills. These primary actions should be taken to support student advocacy.