How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). The essay should be between 400-650 words.
When you have only been exposed to the streets of the Bronx, knowing what you want to do with your life seems impossible. The moment Penn representative, Beth Downing, came to visit my school I was certain spending the next chapter of life at Penn is what I wanted. She explained that the University of Pennsylvania is a liberal arts university where there are opportunities to explore as many different courses available throughout my four years there. To know that there is flexibility in my academics feels reassuring because I know I will have have the tools to help get me through unforeseen moments. Offering flexibility within itself, the Annenberg School for Communication is one that caught my eye.
While browsing the classes within the Communication department, I noticed the course, “Culture and Communication”. Seeing the novel “Awkward Black Girl” featured on the class syllabus sold me on Penn’s dedication to ensuring the implementation of diversity. The novel’s author, Issa Rae, is one of the most influential people in my life. She aims to deconstruct stereotypes of the Black experience through her work. She started off with a small fanbase on YouTube and now has her own primetime series. To see her work as part of the curriculum makes me feel represented and that my voice is being heard by someone. By using Black voices to explain the Black experience, the institution expresses its awareness of societal issues. Therefore the school is taking the initiative to value the lives and experiences of all its students; that’s the experience I want to encounter at Penn.
The founder of Penn, Benjamin Franklin, knew of the many possibilities the world had to offer. He was an inventor, author, and a Founding Father of our nation. The same way Franklin found passion in different fields is the same passion I have for learning. Franklin set the standard for interdisciplinary education at Penn, a standard that I want to be part of. Knowledge goes beyond what you do in a classroom, like how one will apply that knowledge in the world. Annenberg will give me the tools to explore the platforms people use to get their points across. Applying real world issues with media will become an outlet to share my ideas, and my ideas are bound to become multi-dimensional.
Like Issa Rae, director/author Rick Famuyiwa uses his artwork to deconstruct Black stereotypes. In his film “Dope,” he personifies characters to represent various Black stereotypes. Famuyiwa humanizes his characters in order to evoke a dialogue on the stigma of stereotypes, attempting to connect with the audience to get them to understand that there’s a stigma around Black people that isn’t being discussed enough, one that is so strong we cannot deny that it’s going on. For Famuyiwa to bring this stigma to life through a popularized medium like film, helps to destigmatize the image society has shaped about Black people.
I want to be the next Issa Rae and Rick Famuyiwa, shifting the paradigms and deconstructing the negative perceptions about Black lives. Penn wants me to learn further beyond the classroom. Having opportunities to speak about important matters, like my culture, and knowing that my views will make a difference is why the University of Pennsylvania matters to me. Penn will help refine my voice, a voice that encourages others to push through the complexities life throws. In order to push forward I have to push through, and that includes pushing through complex issues like race. It is undeniable that race is a difficult topic to discuss, but it’s mainly because people fear complexity. I do not want to rest my future in a place that values a reputation over my experience. I want a school that holds value in experiences, and that school is the University of Pennsylvania. Published in