I profoundly hope to be selected for the University of ____’s Ph.D. Program in Public Policy and Administration. I am the best fit for the humanitarian approach and commitment to excellence at the University of Delaware. I aspire to enhance my research skill set in your doctoral program, developing a focus on the Indian and Asian-American communities. My correspondence with Associate Professor Sarah K. Bruch has been most positive and reassuring. I am also most attracted to the State of ____, where I already have a network among Indians, both family and friends, some of whom attend the University of Delaware and recommend it highly.
Born to a Muslim father and a Hindu mother, I have always been familiar with the concept of the ‘other’. I was taught compassion and respect for all religions, castes, ethnicities, etc. We spoke English, Hindi, and Urdu at home. My maternal grandparents told us about Hindu Gods and mythology, and my father interested me in Urdu poetry, music etc. Our home was a melting pot of cultures, and I was grateful for the vibrance and diversity that characterized my surroundings. Our multicultural household also raised eyebrows, however, and our relatives told my sister and me that we would never find good boys to marry since our parents belonged to different religious and cultural traditions. Finding a husband was not among my interests, however, and not doing Namas five times a day or going to a temple first thing in the morning - as did most of my friends, enabled me to devote more time to my studies and personal interests.
My family emphasized the importance of education, and I took pride in doing well in school, then completing my undergraduate studies in Journalism, and going on to work as a reporter for India’s biggest national dailies: The Times of India and The Hindustan Times. My experience of being labeled as ‘other’ made me passionate about working with people who are also atypical in some way, making it difficult to adjust to the broader Indian society and its rigid norms. It is appalling how they are so often treated in India simply because they are not the cream of the crop. I helped a few people complete their school education, and, later, made it a point to hire members of minority groups for professional and personal projects who were struggling to keep their art alive. Working to create opportunities for the disadvantaged to lead dignified lives has become the focal point of my career.
In May 2020, I completed my master's Program in Professional Communication at the University of San Francisco. I returned to India and have worked professionally as a journalist and a communications specialist for over 15 years. During this time, both as a professional and a volunteer, I have worked with religious and gender minorities, helping them to develop professional skill sets, integrate better into their religious and cultural communities, and gain confidence in their ability to thrive, even in adverse environments. In San Francisco, I immensely enjoyed working with a political communications firm, PJ Johnston Communications. As an associate, I worked closely with Mayor London Breed’s office and other governmental agencies on several projects related to affordable housing, public safety, etc. I also reviewed and analyzed policies of private establishments and NPOs concerning cultural questions associated with affordable housing and mixed land use, helping to pave the way for community development.
I have been most struck by the fact that people have simply assumed for years that, being an Indian and working in Silicon Valley, my career ambition would be to find employment with a big IT company. Now, I fully recognize this as a destructive or potentially limiting stereotype. Many people that I have gotten to know over the years have looked at me in shock when I tell them that my long-term dreams are to work for government agencies and/or NPOs. Shattering the stereotype and carving my path has helped me to appreciate the importance of recognizing and questioning stereotypes wherever they exist. Now, I better understand the expectations surrounding me as I have explored concepts such as the Model Minority Myth – and the consequences it has had on the shape and flavor of American culture and political trends.
As a Ph.D. student of Public Policy and Administration, I hope to focus much of my efforts on the impact of comparative politics along with governance and administration studying the implementation and impact of policies based on beliefs or assumptions about race in the context of employment opportunities, family and community relationships, and interracial personal and professional relationships. By 2019, there were about 2.7 million Indian immigrants residing in the United States. Today, Indian immigrants account for approximately 6 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population, making them the second-largest immigrant group in the country. From 1980 to 2019, this population increased 13-fold.
As an Indian, I want to focus on this vast and growing group of immigrants that have an ever larger say in the political arena, especially now that there are 4 million Indians when counting those who were born in the USA. The most specific comparison I have in mind studying would be newly migrated IT professionals living and working on the West coast, compared to American-born second/third-generation Indian Americans living on the East coast. I want to focus on qualitative analysis, and I believe that the best results will be obtained by talking to the community.
I thank you for considering my application to the University of ____.
PHD Public Policy and Administration, Multicultural