Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Committee Chair

Dr. Pamela J. Neumann

Committee Member

Dr. John C. Kilburn, Jr.

Committee Member

Dr. Peter F. Haruna


The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that influence(d) the life and career choices of Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students post-graduation – in particular whether and why they decided to stay in Laredo, TX or leave after graduation. The investigation focused on TAMIU alumni who graduated within the last five (5) academic years (2015-2016 thru 2019-2020). To determine which factors were most influential in TAMIU alumni’s decision-making, this study used qualitative data, specifically, online in-depth interviews. By measuring place attachment, social capital, and human capital of TAMIU alumni, this study contributes to our understanding of how brain drain occurs in the Laredo community.

Place attachment, social capital and human capital are all interconnected factors that influenced the decision-making process of TAMIU alumni post-graduation. However, the results of this study specifically indicated that place attachment was the main factor that contributed to a person’s decision about staying or leaving Laredo after graduation. Moreover, the data showed that family relationships were the primary reason that respondents felt highly attached to the city. Although brain drain did not seem to be occurring at the level expected, this study suggests that it could be a growing issue in the future. Most respondents currently living in Laredo stated that they are or have considered moving out of the city in search of better employment and entertainment options elsewhere.