I’m going back to THE Ohio state University. I’m pumped. I got my graduate acceptance email yesterday.
It took a few months for me to receive my final admissions decision, and I had some interesting conversations with people during that time. When I would tell people I applied to grad school, their first response was almost always, “That makes so much sense! Then, you can move into a better district and have access to more resources.”
Or perhaps even more common, “Great! Then you will be able to go back and teach / work in Dublin!”
While it is natural and reasonable (especially with the way education funding is set up) to make those assumptions, my reasons for applying actually had little to do with me, and everything to do with my students.
I applied to grad school so I could better advocate and fight for my students. Period. No strings attached. Every child deserves a quality education. And every child deserves teachers and administrators willing to run through walls to create opportunity.
Education has the power to transform lives, yet the quality of education a child receives is entirely dependent upon the zip code they are born into. My students work hard, dream big, and fight to be better day in and day out. They are all capable of achieving.
I want to go to grad school to be a better advocate for them. They all deserve the world.
I want to take a moment and share my personal statement I used for my application in this space.
Mater of Public Administration and Leadership Personal Statement
Five numbers– four, three, zero, one, seven. 43017. My childhood zip code. Five numbers determined my academic fate, influencing all future opportunities I would have in my life. My zip code gave me safe and reliable transportation to and from school. My zip code offered many college credit and AP courses, making it easier for me to obtain my Strategic Communications degree and graduate from The Ohio State University. My zip code gave me a huge head start in life.
Five numbers– four, three, two, two, three. 43223. My students’ zip codes. Five numbers that determine their academic fate, significantly impacting all opportunities, or lack thereof, they will have in their life. My students are hard working, high achieving, and hungry for knowledge. Yet, my students are provided significantly less than their cross-town counterparts when it comes to educational opportunities. They were born into zip codes where they automatically started behind.
The fact that five numbers determine the quality of education, and therefore the quality of opportunity, a child has in life is an injustice that I cannot live with. Fareed Zakaria touched on this in his 2019 Spring Commencement Speech at The Ohio State University. He encouraged the audience to use the opportunity and privilege they’ve been given to change the injustices they see in the world. Fareed Zakaria is a huge part of the reason why I am applying for the Master of Public Administration and Leadership Program at The Ohio State University.
My personal mission in my career and in life is to create opportunity through the power of education. I have reached a point in my career where an in depth knowledge of nonprofit leadership and education policy is necessary in order to continue to advocate and open doors for my students.
My goal as a leader in education is to influence policy at the school, district, and ultimately state level that will help to close the education gap that exists in Ohio’s most vulnerable zip codes. My next step is to obtain a master’s degree that will equip me with the leadership tools and policy knowledge to continue pursuing this goal. I want to learn from professors, such as Katie Vinopal, that have dedicated their lives to examining the racial and socioeconomic gaps in education. Since my career goals center around Ohio Education Policy, I firmly believe that the best program match for me is the MPAL program at The Ohio State University.
I currently work as a school administrator at CCA Dana Middle School, part of United Schools Network. Our network engages mostly with the South Franklinton, Hilltop, and Linden areas– some of the most under-served zip codes in Columbus. Our vision at United Schools Network is “for every child an open door.” Most students attending CCA Dana have an average family income of $13,000. Eighty-Five percent of the students I work with on a daily basis are minorities. I work to fight systems that have been in place for decades that marginalize my students. I work to fight policies that keep my kids from having the same opportunities as kids in other zip codes. I have tirelessly advocated to help close the achievement gap as an educator, both in the classroom and now as a school administrator.
As a school administrator, I am responsible for managing budgets, influencing hiring decisions, writing school policies, and managing all crisis situations that arise. My job gives me the ability to be a constant advocate for the students and families that we serve. I get to make decisions that help our school work towards closing the education gap. I am excited to pull real data and projects from my everyday work life and use them for projects in the MPAL Program. The structure of the MPAL Program will allow me to implement my studies immediately in my work at CCA Dana.
Five numbers– four, three, two, one, zero. 43210. The zip code of The John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Obtaining my Master of Public Administration and Leadership from The Ohio State University is a crucial step in furthering my career. I want to use the opportunity that 43017 gave me to fight for zip codes just like 43223. To continue to do this, I believe that 43210 is where I belong.
I am incredibly thankful for both zip codes mentioned in my personal statement.
To 43017– without Dublin City Schools and the education I received there, I can confidently say I would not be doing what I’m doing today (note: Having this opportunity as a result of the zip code I was born into is something called privilege. Yes, I am privileged. Yes, it is important to recognize that).
Mr. Shilling, Mr. Bringardner, Mrs. Zimmerman, Mr. King, Mrs. Williams, and Mrs. Keating– you each inspired me to be a math teacher. Math was (and still is) my favorite subject.
Mrs. Clark– you are the reason I went into education after college. Even as a 4th grader, I used to play school in my basement with my sisters, and I would literally pretend to be you.
Pat– you showed me that a teacher is someone you can trust. I can’t even count the number of hours I spent talking, crying, or laughing in your office.
Ms. Z– you are the reason I can write. Everything I learned about writing, I learned from you. You pushed me to be better in every possible way.
Mr. Ewing and Gantz– you taught me how to make learning fun. There are three of us at my middle school that were former DCHS Rocks, and we all three talk about your class still to this day.
Mr. Ulring– You are the reason I joined our Admin Team at CCA Dana. You’ve influenced my career in more ways than you will ever know.
My goal for my students at Dana is that one day, they too will have a long list of people that helped them, advocated for them, and were in their corner every step of the way. Every student deserves this experience.
To 43223– You have given me the best job in the entire world, the best students in the entire world, and the best coworkers in the entire world.
I am so excited to continue in my role at Dana while attending graduate school. I can’t wait to keep learning and growing so that I can be better for our students and staff.
Finally, there is no better Grad School (in my unbiased opinion) than THE Ohio State University. I can’t wait to walk across The Shoe again in a couple years 🙂
Go Bucks Forever ❤