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. (400-650 words)
Historically, communities like mine have been plagued with poverty, resulting in increasing violence, unemployment, health disparities, and gentrification. Unfortunately, many of the graduates from my high school do not enroll at four-year institutions, leaving our problems unaddressed and unresolved. I would like my educational experience to include being a voice for those who are often underrepresented. As a Political Science major at UPENN, I will pursue academic-based community service. In researching the College of Arts and Sciences, I came across a video documenting Madison Dawkins’s independent study project. After visiting Riverside Correctional Facility with her class, she developed and led a mindfulness workshop to support women in prison. I appreciate that learning at UPENN is not limited to the classroom, and there are ample opportunities to conduct action research within the community.
I plan to seek opportunities for mentorship with UPENN’s Upward Bound program. As the Vice President of the Puente Club, a TRIO program, I developed an Academic Outreach Committee to provide study skills to marginalized students. I also co-founded the Young Scholars of Salinas Club, Young SOS, which allowed me to share college readiness information with 49 of my peers. Every weekend, I volunteer for the Emanyatta Saturday School, a program designed to provide African American youth with additional academic support and cultural enrichment. I am passionate about serving in disenfranchised neighborhoods, and I look forward to participating in both Civic Scholars and Alternative Breaks.
This summer, I had the privilege of traveling to South Africa with The Experiment Leadership Institute to learn about peace politics and human rights. This five-week experience has inspired me to view systems in America through a new lens. Like America, South Africa is dealing with the unhealed scars of racism on a society that is attempting to be post-racial. Like Americans, South Africans tarry in a society in which extreme wealth is constantly juxtaposed with extreme poverty. Like America, South Africa is still suffering from the long-lasting effects of imperialism. This trip has sparked a desire to study abroad in order to be exposed to new cultures and to examine the political history of other countries.
A key component of being educated is knowing your own history. As a Black girl, my experience has been limited to courses like AP European History and AP US History, which blatantly disregard the African diaspora and the long term effects it has had on people of African descent globally. I was excited to find out that UPENN offers an Africana Studies Pre-Freshman Summer Institute that fosters a sense of community and provides a broader picture of the Black experience.
An important part of college is social interaction. With the increase in social media, we have seen a decrease in social awareness. Many adults have lost their ability to hold a conversation, and many adolescents have never possessed it. TableTalk Penn is appealing because it affords the opportunity to have difficult, yet thought-provoking conversations. UPENN is seen as an impetus for engaging in discourse for the purpose of solving real-world issues. I believe the collaborative spirit at UPENN combined with the diverse student body will help me to develop the leadership skills I will need to pursue a career in law and politics. Published in