Monday, January 25, 2010

My Statement of Purpose for Admission to Grad School

I am applying to go to NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study for a Masters degree in Youth Development. Gallatin allows you (in undergrad and graduate work) to create your own program from NYU classes, internships, and life experience.

Amazing? I know, right?!

So, two weeks ago I looked at whether or not my personal & professional purposes are in alignment, based on the actions I've been taking. And what should show up in my inbox?... An e-mail reminder that the Reynold's Fellowship application deadline is approaching. I was made aware of the fellowship opportunity because I went to an information session about Gallatin in December of 2008. I had 3 solid weeks to get the graduate school application and fellowship applications submitted.

My time runs out on Friday.

I am sharing with you all my statement of purpose for admission into Gallatin. Please send positive vibration, prayer, etc toward my acceptance!

“People who live in the intersection of social worlds are at higher risk of having good ideas,” according to Ronald S. Burt, a professor at the University of Chicago known for his research and writing on social capital. Gallatin is an institutional representation of that ideology; I am a human one. My work lives at the crossroads of a wide range of academic, corporate, creative and public realms where I am known for innovative thinking. My application to Gallatin’s Masters program rests on this foundation.

I entered into an MSEd program at Bank Street College of Education in Fall 2003, fresh out of college. With a promised full scholarship if I specialized in Childhood and Special Education, I began the coursework uninspired. After a year, I was certain that I wanted to refocus on the impact homes, neighborhoods, and societies have on the development of youth. Instead of completing the program, I thrust myself into various youth-centered settings – committed to understanding the structures, systems, and stakeholders that develop young people.

A burgeoning field of study, there are approximately five Youth Development Masters programs in the nation, most of which are focused on adolescent psychology, and are primarily available on-line. A Masters at Gallatin, with its inherently inter-disciplinary nature, will provide the grounding I need in qualitative, quantitative, and experiential coursework, and the support from an advisor to regularly discern the program’s efficacy.

With an option to pursue an internship with the Forum for Youth Investment, MDRC, or Steinhardt’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change, the program offers an opportunity to gain practical experience with an entity that faithfully contributes research that guides policy for youth development. Specific subject areas of interest for this proposed program include adolescent development, educational policy, and corporate social responsibility. It is necessary to merge the study of social sciences and social innovation with a comprehensive examination of infrastructures and collaborations developed for youth investment.

In preparation for graduate work, I have developed relationships with leaders in personal development, youth activism, media/entertainment, as well as international cultural ambassadors and experts in multi-cultural education. Additionally, I have maintained relationships with my mentors over decades, and have experience mentoring twelve young adults through The Stoop – a Saturday program I co-created in Brooklyn, NY.

Academically, I have participated in Venture Consortium’s Urban Education Semester (2000), received the 2001 Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund Fellowship for Minority Teaching and a Minority Teaching Scholarship for graduate work (2002). Professionally, I co-founded two youth organizations focused on leadership and program development, taught third and fourth graders in public and charter schools, and provided consult and conducted workshops for communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide.

Every goal I have set for myself, both personally and professionally, is focused towards advancing the participation of youth in all aspects of society. Consequently, there are three major goals that will be forwarded upon completing a Masters in Youth Development: a doctorate in Youth Studies, an executive position in an NGO that directs policy on a national level, and a position in the Office of Innovation and Improvement for the US Department of Education.

While programs at Steinhardt and Wagner are individually extraordinary, none comprehensively examine the cross-section of structures, systems, and stakeholders toward positive youth development. For this reason, I have chosen to pursue graduate work in Gallatin’s individualized study program.

Did this statement of purpose seal the deal?... READ HERE