Understanding Hispanics & Sense of Community

Teaching & Engagement, 2016


This mixed methods research study will be conducted within two Nebraska counties to better understand the assets and the challenges associated with being Hispanic/Latino in rural Nebraska. This project addresses community concerns that were identified during the 2015 East Central District comprehensive community health needs assessment. Six focus groups (three in each county) and a survey of at least 100 Hispanic/Latino individuals from each community will be conducted. A bilingual community report will be developed with community partners that includes actionable recommendations.


This was the first study to describe sense of community, neighboring behaviors, participation in community life, discrimination, and life satisfaction among Hispanic immigrants in Nebraska. Six focus groups (three in each community) were conducted during March 2017 and involved 56 participants. The quantitative portion of the study included 206 participants, half from Schuyler and half from Columbus.

Major findings of the study include:

Crucial to the success of the project were relationships that the research team built with key community partners. They include AMWAY (group of local sellers), Chichualco Supermarket, Comité Latino de Schuyler (Latino Committee of Schuyler), El Centro Hispano de Columbus, Heartland Workers Center, La Gloria Restaurant, Latinoamerica Grocery, Pacific Window Tint LLC, Schuyler Public Library, St. Augustine Church, The Columbus Chamber of Commerce, The Platte Valley Literacy Association.

In addition to the significant findings of the research project, another success has been the student learning that has taken place through the two graduate students who have worked on the project. The Principal Investigator mentored the students and together they conceived the research questions, developed the survey instrument and focus group guide, brainstormed potential community partners, strategized on how to complete the project, and analyzed the data.

Activities in which the graduate students were involved during the project with the mentorship of the Principal Investigator included:


Project Team






Media Coverage



Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu