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

During my undergraduate studies, I underwent a service learning project at APEX Youth Center (Always Pursuing EXcellence) in Center-City New Orleans, working to combat the drug, violence, and financial hardships that plague the socioeconomic statuses of its citizens. Young adolescents are affected by societal conditions such as poverty, racial profiling, drug usage, and gang violence that will inevitably condition them for a life of poverty, incarceration or death. As a New Orleans native, this is a heartbreaking experience because I had experienced similar circumstances in Mid-City New Orleans as my uncle -also a New Orleans native- continuously battles drug abuse and incarceration in the New Orleans justice system. At an early age, I was always probing my mother's brain and helping my family plan strategies to assist my uncle in his fight against drug addiction; however, my efforts will always be metaphorically fighting an uphill because societal conditions socialized my uncle to believe there were no solutions for his afflictions. This further fueled my desire to initiate data-driven opportunities for educational reform, economic assistance, and community redevelopment to improve the socioeconomic landscape of inner-city New Orleans and other areas of underrepresented minorities within the city.
Academically, I am fascinated in delving further into my research on the socialization of lower class African-Americans through social interactions and perceptions. As an aspiring chief analytics officer, I aim to improve and consistently find more effective and efficient methods to solve problems afflicting underrepresented areas and create more opportunities for the youth in my community.

Brian from Louisiana
University of Connecticut