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

A child came to the Children’s Assessment Center (CAC), where I work as a victim advocate. The child came to the CAC for a forensic medical exam and interview after being recently removed from a severe physically abusive household. When they came to the CAC, her new foster mother was sitting on the opposite side of the lobby not engaging with the child, not even facing her direction and completely distracted by her mobile phone. The child sat in a chair with her head down facing the playroom she thought she could not enter because her foster mother had not spoken to her. I entered the lobby and asked the child if she wanted to go play in the play room. She looked shocked that someone was speaking to her and grew very excited to go play. She thoroughly enjoyed playing with the different animal toys that were present. I asked what her favorite animals were and she said that she loved unicorns. We were playing with the animals when I pointed in the direction of the stuffed animals that the children could pick when they came. She was ecstatic when she saw a sparkly unicorn with long rainbow-colored hair. She grabbed it and hugged it so tight. When she went to show her foster mother, she was sent away because the woman was busy on her phone. Soon after, she was called back for her medical exam and was a bit nervous at first. I let her know that her unicorn could go with her to her appointment too and I would sit with her the entire time. When the exam was finished, she thanked me for the unicorn and said she would keep it forever. She also thanked me for sitting with her during the exam because she did not want to be alone. I will carry this memory with me always because it was one of the first times I felt I was definitely in the best place not just for myself but, to make a positive impact on the lives of the children. Helping this child gave me the courage to pursue my Master's degree so I could help more kids as a pediatric victim advocate in my community.

Corynn from California
University of California-Irvine