The Ph.D. Program in Education with a focus on Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research at Fordham University is my first choice for graduate school because I feel that I am the best fit with Fordham. I live and work in New York City and I see your program as the most international and interdisciplinary doctoral program in the city if not the world. I look forward to contributing to the diversity of the education community as a young Uyghur woman raised in a small village in China.
I was born and raised in a small minority village in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwestern China. We have much in common in our ethnic and linguistic heritage with peoples of Central Asia. This is why in addition to Uyghur, English, and Mandarin Chinese, I am also a near-native speaker of Uzbek and Kazak. I grew up in my grandparents’ home, and my grandma always told me that people in our village thought that women did not need to attend school, and that they should just stay home and do housework. Because of this sentiment, she had not received an education and was disappointed about that throughout her life. Hence, she has encouraged me to pursue my education, because women are equal to men, and women should also have the chance to pursue their dreams.
When I was fifteen years old, having done well on an exam, I was uprooted and, with little preparation, sent to the other side of the country to attend a high school in a city in southeast China, as part of a special education program for gifted minority students. The spacious classrooms all contained big-screen computers. I thought about my classroom in my village. I always prayed that it would not rain because, when it did, our classroom would fill with water, and our school closed. I was happy to come to a fancy classroom, but sad to think about the other children in my village, still up to their ankles in water.
I have been challenged by many obstacles throughout my pursuit of the optimal education, and each hurdle has left me even more highly motivated than before to eventually earn my Ph.D. in Education. Leaving home when I was fifteen years old and returning for only one month each year was terrifying and heart-rending, and detrimental to my academic success. I was fortified by the suffering, however, and became more independent as time wore on. Most importantly, this experience left me hungry to do research in the area of education, especially primary education.
I have increasingly become aware of many advantages of American over Chinese education systems and I would like to help our educational systems learn more from America and adopt more of its pedagogical style in its institutions. Student centered pedagogy, in particular, is greatly needed in China in order to cultivate critical and independent thinking, the foundation of future success at every level, intellectual and cultural as well as economic. I also see this as having great potential for the mitigation of gender inequalities, grounded in the empowerment of girls. In China, there is too much memorizing and too little classroom discussion, needed to foster critical and independent, creative thinking.
Here in the USA, parents are not only concerned with grades, as is often the case in China, but also try to help the children to develop their potential abilities, especially critical and independent thinking. I hope to explore these kinds of issues more in-depth at XXXX, as well as taking a very close look at the literature that exists with respect to the education of Chinese immigrant children. While exploring differences between student centered education and teacher centered education, I will look closely at the categories of student motivation, child development, and how parents’ expectations and rules effect the child’s level of achievement. As a Ph.D. student in XXXX’s Education Program, I would be especially eager for the fullest immersion experience possible in the area of quantitative research methods, as I see this as particularly crucial to my future research. I would benefit greatly from the Contemporary Learning Curriculum as I strive to better understand the complex dimensions of educational systems. I have read the work of Dr. Akane Zusho and it would be a special honor to study under her guidance, especially with respect to the areas of cultural competency and its impact on student motivation and performance. Receiving instruction and guidance from Dr. XXXX would also help me enormously. I have studied research methods and statistics intensively, enough so far to be confident that this is the area in which I want to make my professional mark.
During my master program, I conducted a cultural competency study focused on my hometown in China that turned into my Master’s Thesis, which necessitated extensive quantitative research, examined motivation and job performance among public service workers, and was based on data from both the public and private sectors regarding employee injury and illness. At Fordham, I look forward to deepening and broadening my research regarding motivation to excel academically.
Outside of the classroom, I participated in a year-and-a-half-long teaching and research assistance program in my school’s Political Science and Public Administration Department. During this period, I worked with Dr. XXXX, Dr. XXXX, and Dr. XXXX. I helped them grade papers, proctor exams, guide class discussions, and host office hours to answer students’ questions. I was a teaching assistant for a “Nonprofit Management” class and “Introduction to Empirical Methods of Political Research” class. I also covered for a research methodology class when my professor went to a conference, and I taught students how to use Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to analyze data. They often came to my office to ask me questions which helped me to further refine my communication skills with students from all over, mostly the USA .
Simultaneously, also guided undergraduate discussion sections for the Political Science Department much of it focused on a democracy in action project. I also helped Dr. XXXX analyze the Political Science Department’s Undergraduate Assessment Report. Finally, I taught children at the Math and Science Education Center as an instructor for Super Saturday events at Central Michigan University. My current position, as a care coordinator at NYC Health & Hospitals, allows me to collaborate daily with residents, representatives of community organizations, students, parents, school staff unions, and other public and private agencies. At the same time, I participate in the planning, organization, and implementation of programs to increase community participation. My position allows me to communicate with and support low-income families of many different races and ethnicities. I have also worked with the mentally ill and victims of substance, learning how to listen and to handle challenging cases. I look forward to graduating from Fordham University as a top-notch researcher and later a university professor.
Thank you for considering my application to Education at XXXX.