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

For the first 12 years of my life I grew up on military bases, and I watched my dad go to work every day wearing combat boots and dog tags. I continuously draw back on my roots as a military child when I consider my future, and I can't imagine pursuing a career not dedicated to service. Working as an audiologist within the Veterans Health Administration would allow me to give back to the community that gave me my central values, and in order to achieve this goal I have to attend graduate school. Last summer I interned as an audiometric technician within a military audiology clinic, which cemented my desire to work with the military. In this role, I administered hearing tests and provided counseling to hundreds of servicemen and women. I also learned how frustrated people are with military healthcare, due to the widespread underrepresentation and poor quality of service that many receive. Graduate school will serve as a stepping-stone for further developing the skills to advocate for hearing health and to build empowering rapport with my patients. My exposure to the military has made me a mission-oriented individual, and I value growth achieved through professional interaction. I have had the honor of serving on the boards of numerous national organizations within the field, and attending graduate school will present me with additional opportunities to do so. Furthering my education will also require me to learn how to navigate an academic system that is much larger than myself. This will equip me with the skills necessary to navigate the culture of the military and healthcare professions, and will reinforce a capacity to work within different governmental climates. My desire to pursue graduate school is rooted in my urge to give back to the military community. The four additional years that I will be spending in school will not only extend my knowledge on the subject matter, but will help to cultivate me into a person who is capable of making a real difference.

Kaleigh from Virginia
University of South Florida