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

I have lived overseas in many different countries most of my life. My father worked for Fluor, a construction company that gave our family many opportunities that others were able to get. People always assumed that my dad was overly educated and came from money because of the extensive travelling that we all had done. This could not be farther from the truth.
My dad was born in a small town called Orange, Texas. He and his family moved to Puerto Rico when he was young and for the most part got by. My mothers' family was in a similar situation and she was born in North Carolina, moved to Puerto Rico where both her and my father met and got married. My mother's dad worked hard his whole life and eventually became Vice President of GE. My father worked for Fluor for 38 years and became a Director for Fluor. Both of these men did so without a college degree.
It has always been a strong character trait for my family to work hard, but I was always told to do more than they did. I have always been inspired by these two men that gave up so much for their families, and so I can only hope to do the same for mine. So, I joined the US Navy and worked hard to become a Petty Officer 2nd Class, earning a Joint Service Commendation medal while serving in Iraq. I got out and used my GI Bill and graduated from college in Texas. I have been working in Kazakhstan for four years on a 78 hour work week and now feel it is time to do more.
I do feel proud about the man that I am but not because of the goals that I have achieved. I feel honored that I was given more than a fighting chance and that I was taught well enough not to waste it. I know deep down that my father wishes he had finished his degree and so in a way I hope that my success is felt through him vicariously. My father and grandfather were the ones that pushed me to go this far and I hope that I can do the same for my son when he gets older. I could not have set the bar this high without their support.

John from Texas
Purdue University