Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Ever since I was a kid, I was always fascinated by nature and loved learning about the Earth in class. Later in elementary school, I learned about Rachel Carson and decided I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Whenever I could learn about different ecosystems I would, slowly learning about people’s disregard for the environment and eventually learning about the threat of climate change. Learning about prominent environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and John Muir made me realize that most of the scientists I learned about were male and Caucasian. There was little diversity in the field and when I looked back at my family, I realized why. There were no female scientists in my family, as most of my relatives got married right out of high school or in the middle of college. Most dropped their education to focus on being a housewife or were deterred from continuing their education. This has led me to start a graduate school program for a masters in marine science and be a scientist who paves a path for other women of color in STEM. I am one of the few women in my family to think about graduate school, possibly being the first one to pursue a graduate degree. I want to break the tradition of women in my family and create an opportunity for myself to have an actual career. There should be more mentors that are of color in all fields of study especially in environmental fields. By starting a masters degree in the fall, I am already one step closer towards my goal and am determined more than ever to complete my graduate degree and become one of those mentors of color to someone else like me.

Fiza from Maryland
University of Maryland to Hawaii Pacific University