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

Undoubtedly, the catalyst for my personal and professional growth is my industrious and empowered mother. My father never obtained a college education while my mother had to drop out of college during her sophomore year due to financial constraints. After working for several years, she was able to return to school while raising twin children. She eventually completed her Bachelor’s degree and MBA. She subsequently secured employment running Dell’s global sales operations, and we spent a significant time abroad with my father serving as our stay-at-home dad. In each country that we lived or visited, I saw differing gender roles. I did not judge, and I especially cherished my time in Malaysia—a Muslim majority country. The standard with which I was raised in our home, however, prompted me to know that wherever I have gone and plan to go, I could accomplish anything because of my exemplary mother—a worldview that contrasted with the reality that I observed in terms of the plight of women outside of our homes. Wherever I lived or visited, there was a common thread that tied many women beyond their gender. In each country, they faced certain obstacles—sometimes subtle such as their inability to secure employment in fields deemed customary for men only, such as finance or management—or endured more obvious problems like domestic violence. As I progressed in high school, my mother transcended her work responsibilities to establish domestic abuse programs at work thereby empowering women to address taboo subjects and equipping them with the resources to ameliorate their hardships. Through the unique growth and perspective that I gained while living abroad, I resolved to one day be a similar catalyst to help other vulnerable women. I want to leverage my background and the empowered and formative example with which I was raised to ensure that aspiring women and marginalized groups have the same opportunities to impact this world for the better as everyone else.

Paige from California
university of texas at austin