Summer Bridge Program

Helping Underserved Students Develop Social and Cultural Capital


  • Nicolas Simon Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Rick Hornung Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Kimberly D. Dugan Eastern Connecticut State University


Cultural Capital, First-Generation College Students, Habitus, Low-Income Students, Social Capital, Summer Bridge Programs, Underserved Students


Social and cultural capital are critical components of success among college students. In this paper, we examine the creation, accumulation, and distribution of social and cultural capital by and among underserved college students who participated in a summer bridge program at one regional public state university. Using qualitative data from interviews with participants, the analysis highlights the importance of trust, sense of belonging and use of non-cognitive strategies. We argue that in addition to traditional achievement measures such as GPA and test scores, social and cultural capital need to be considered. While quantitative measures often label these students as below benchmarks, this study highlights how social and cultural capital are assets to be nurtured and facilitated.


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Author Biographies

Nicolas Simon, Eastern Connecticut State University

NICOLAS SIMON, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic CT. His major research interests include sociology of higher education, first-generation college students, community service, Open Educational Resources, and Open Pedagogy. Email:

Rick Hornung, Eastern Connecticut State University

RICK HORNUNG, Ph.D., is a student development specialist at Eastern Connecticut State University. His primary research interests are retention and graduation of first-generation students and students from low-income families.  Email:

Kimberly D. Dugan, Eastern Connecticut State University

KIMBERLY DUGAN, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Ct. Her major research interests include social movements, LGBTQ+ studies and its’ Christian right opposition, and pedagogy.  Email:



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How to Cite

Simon, N., Hornung, R., & Dugan, K. (2022). Summer Bridge Program: Helping Underserved Students Develop Social and Cultural Capital. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 11(1), 126–148. Retrieved from