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

I grew up in an urban neighborhood surrounded by high crime, heavy gang presence, and low academic achievement. Despite the obstacles I faced as a first-generation college student, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I graduated from UCLA. I conquered impostor syndrome, anxiety, and my sister battling cancer.
After 7 years working in education, I am ready to take my leadership and passion for education equity to a new level of impact. A Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management will provide me with an advanced understanding of education policy and the tools to make a broader difference in education. My goal is to lead a nonprofit or school district, where I will continue dismantling systemic barriers that exist in education and create more access to programming for all students despite race, class, gender, citizenship, and GPA. There is more work to be done at the nonprofit and school district level to close the achievement gap experienced by students of color. I am eager to acquire the skills that will help me lead staff who are passionate about giving students the tools they need to uplift themselves, creating equitable learning environments, and developing sustainable programs.
The person I have become is the outcome of my collective experiences. I am a passionate educator who advocates and is committed to fostering the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion for students and staff. I will never stop working towards ensuring that all students, no matter what type of school they go to, have access to an excellent education, sufficient resources, impactful programming, and passionate staff who are also treated equitably. I want students to feel that they are adequately prepared, have the ability to succeed at any post-secondary institution, and have a network of people who believe in them and are rooting for their success. This will have the domino effect that we all envision to ultimately improve our community and then change the world.

Michelle from California
HARVARD (Fall 2019)