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

My initial inspiration to earn a Master's Degree stems from my early days as an adolescent. I can recall moments in which my mother, head of a single parent household, would go to work and attend school. When she couldn't find a babysitter, she would bring us to class. I loved the atmosphere of college. Despite my lack of understanding in what a Master's degree was and how it could help, I enjoyed being a spectator of the process. As an adult, having earned a BA in political science and entrance into the working world, the question following my introduction was my level of education. When I speak of my current progress in completing grad school, I notice that employers are impressed not only with my story alone, but the barriers I have overcome in the process being a young Black man, growing up in San Francisco's Bayview Hunters Point.

The value of a graduate degree opens doors that aren't typically accessible. In my current position as a fellow for the Department of Police Accountability, my supervisor/ Executive Director asked me when I would earn my graduate degree so that I can be eligible for hire. Having proved myself in the workplace as a fellow, I am starting to recognize that a graduate degree is a symbol for qualification in addition to a testament of the work one has done to earn it. While pursuing a graduate degree, I currently work 3 jobs, two of them are full time.

My inspiration to complete this graduate degree goes far beyond a desire for the opportunity to improve my financial position in through employment. As an employee in the public/ non-profit sector, I look to utilize my extensive experience that starts from my teenage years, to retain a management position that will allow me to influence change. Earning a graduate degree will allow me to qualify for that particular leadership position. At University of San Francisco, the courses focus on leadership with moral/ ethical consciousness.

Elijah from California
University of San Francisco