It has been said that human life is a dilemma, and I have reason to agree. I have always been fascinated with biology, and much of my education has revolved around it, but I also yearn to be involved with society and culture. My early educational experiences were germinal in this regard, as I was encouraged to think of myself as a renaissance man, to involve myself broadly in the world. This led me to work in the arts and education, as well as science, and I have carried out projects in each field. My drive to be involved, along with the mentorship of different individuals along the way, has shaped my character and given me a broad view of the world.
In my early years I was most passionate about the natural world. To get involved in biology, I volunteered with organizations like the San Francisco Zoo (1992 and 1993, summers) and the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences (1995-1997), and worked after school in a pet store. After high school, I moved between several colleges, considering different goals, until I was offered the opportunity to join a teacher’s training program run by Fresno State faculty. This program helped fund and structure my education, let me learn from established mentor teachers, and gave me experience in teaching. Although I ultimately decided not to pursue classroom teaching, I maintained a strong interest in education as part of my career.
After college I began to explore the professional world. I did several internships with the Student Conservation Association (September – November 2003, May-July 2004), and coordinated a project to connect a local school with graduate students to improve the school’s science curriculum (March-May 2004). Still looking for a good fit, I explored many career fields, volunteered in a nonprofit homework-help and writing center (2004-2010), and pursued my interest in the performing arts through an MFA program in San Francisco. I attended workshops at a local career-development office and eventually was asked to lead several workshops in creativity and health (2010-2011). In this exploratory process I was assisted by a friend who served as a career coach, helping me plan, prioritize, and imagine my career goals in detail. I eventually settled on a goal of working as a museum educator, but I realized I would have to bolster my credentials through further scientific training to make a real contribution to the field.
My vision for my future is to be a thought leader at the border of science and education. I perceive a great need in our society for critical thinking skills and interest in biology, and I believe that with the proper training I will be able to help fill it. I hope to instill in others the sense of wonder and satisfaction that comes with deep study of the natural world, since I believe that being involved in something outside one’s self results in a becoming a better person. Teaching critical thinking and self-reliance will also help young people craft satisfying life plans, and I wish to mentor young people in the way I have been mentored.
I am requesting a scholarship to support my graduate education, not out of a sense of entitlement, but because I wish to devote myself as fully as possible to my ongoing education. I am thrilled and grateful to have been accepted to Fresno’s graduate program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and I humbly request this support with the knowledge that my education will help me share the love of learning and the wonder of life in every way I can.