Fuentes focuses on a female Iranian immigrant he calls Nasim who studied at NGU. He traces her use of accommodation and agency as she negotiates between the university's culture and her own goals as a LM student. Nasim sees NGU as inhospitable toward LM students, calling into question the school's commitment to diversity:
One thing they say is that they value diversity, but I think this is not true (to some extent) because I as an ESL student think that the fact that I have to take ESL classes, or in writing classes, my writing is being compared to an American student is not fair. (qtd. in Fuentes 228)Fuentes reports that Nasim exercises agency, circumventing the heavy academic demands at NGU (part of NGU's "university culture") by taking some more difficult science courses at a community college instead of at NGU. She does this in order to be able to maintain a GPA high enough to allow her to get into optometry school after graduation (232). She also avoids courses with demanding writing requirements in order to avoid lowering her GPA and generally stays quiet in class in order to avoid publicizing her linguistic difference, which she felt would generally be seen as a deficit.
Fuentes concludes that Nasim's exercise of agency helps her successfully attain her goal of graduating, although it's at the cost of her feeling alienated from NGU's university culture.