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

Since witnessing the lasting trauma endured by a close friend who grew up in an abusive home, I have sought meaningful experiences to learn more about the role I can play in effecting change for at-risk youth. I began volunteering with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of San Mateo County, an organization designed to provide companionship and advocacy to youth in the Child Welfare System. Through CASA, I mentored children on an individual basis and advocated for their best interests during court hearings. I also volunteered for Project Change - a program dedicated to educating incarcerated youth about the importance of attending college. Twice a week, our small group of volunteers went to the local juvenile hall to work with the youth there, teaching them the skills they needed for a successful transition back into high school and potentially to college. After these volunteer experiences, I decided to begin working full-time with at-risk youth and became a Residential Counselor at Edgewood Center for Children and Families - a facility that offers programs to help abused, traumatized, and neglected children rebuild and transform their lives.
Deciding what to devote my life’s work to has involved a serious assessment of my personality, goals, and skills, and how I can apply them to enact positive change in my community. As an aspiring Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, I envision myself as a leader, working closely with other social service and healthcare professionals to provide accessible and quality care to at-risk youth in underserved and marginalized communities. I want to continue to support this population to overcome their most difficult challenges in the unique way that only a nurse can; by making evidence-based decisions while maintaining a holistic approach to care that directly involves patients and their families, while empowering them to lead the way on their journey to wellness.

Irene from California
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing