Statement of problem: This study is an attempt to (1) explore the six Korean adoptees ethnic, racial, and class identities and (2) recognize the factors that influence the interviewees' pursuit of post-graduate education. Even though this study focuses on three types of identities, other factors for their establishment of identities were not ignored. Methods: Two Korean adoptees from Minnesota were recruited as interviewees through an acquaintance and then the snow ball sampling method was used to recruit four more Korean adoptees, three from Minnesota and one from an adjacent area. Face-to-face interviews were used as the primary method for collecting data, and not only the 27 questions on the interview schedule, but also follow-up questions were asked. Findings: The interviewees identified themselves as Korean or Korean American even though their ethnic identity was contextual, and they distinguished themselves from second generation Korean Americans. Racially, they admitted they are viewed as Asian, but they preferred identifying themselves as Korean specifically to being lumped in an indistinguishable category. Affluent upbringing gave them a sense of belonging in the middle or upper-middle class category. Regarding the factors for their decision to pursue post-baccalaureate education, five categories were found: personal goals, education achievements of parents, personal experiences, environmental factors, and job market/economic reasons.


Wayne E. Allen

Committee Member

Kebba Darboe

Committee Member

Andrew Phemister

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Ethnic Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License