Hopefully this was the “Statement of Purpose” that got me in. Enjoy!
“I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will” by Tupac Shakur. This quote has grounded me in my life’s dedication toward empowering young people because as cliché as it may be, they are the future. I believe that one of the greatest tragedies of society is the severe lack of opportunities and resources for youth. I hope to address these inequities and empower youth leadership through the UC Davis Community Development Masters program.
I’ve participated in several community based participatory research projects that have refined my interest in youth development. I served on the media advisory team for the “Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions” report developed by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. This report reveals data about the varying levels of wellness and vulnerabilities among youth in the Capital Region and made recommendations toward addressing these discrepancies. I helped disseminate this report to community organizations so it may help better inform their work. I further enhanced my knowledge in advocacy through serving as the executive committee chair for Sacramento Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) Partnership. This coalition was made up of several nonprofit organizations and school district representatives that focused on addressing disparities among young men of color; focusing on the areas of school suspension/expulsion, educational inequities and health disparities. I spoke at the BMoC Legislative select committee hearing as a panelist focusing on the importance of employment for male youth of color. I also did extensive research as an analyst for the Center for Community School Partnerships in the UC Davis School of Education. My role involved performing extensive literature review, pilot site testing and qualitative data analysis to develop a school environment survey tool and a 200 page youth-based curriculum called the “Youth Media Literacy & Nutrition Toolkit”.
I hope to bring these experiences of research to my graduate studies at UC Davis and explore best models for youth engagement as a form of community development. I’d like to examine the relationship between schools and community organizations to best leverage resources, services and identify unmet needs for youth so they may have more opportunities for leadership. I would also like to see how social media could be used in youth organizing and curriculum development. I believe the UC Davis Community Development Masters program is best suited for this vision because I would be able to analyze structures at a Macro-level to identify tangible action steps to take on a grassroots level. I believe the program’s aptitude for interdisciplinary studies is ideal to understand institutions from multiple lenses such as education, community organizing, welfare and policy. Most importantly the program’s close proximity allows me to focus my work on my community: Sacramento.
For my internship, I would like to continue working with the extensive network of community organizations that I already know in the Sacramento area. I hope to do my internship with Building Healthy Communities under the direction of Kim Williams who does great work around youth development. Academically, I hope to be advised by faculty members Patsy Owens and Jonathan London to gain more insight around their expertise of youth engagement and service learning. I also hope to continue working with Associate Professor Angela Booker of the School of Education who served as an expert reviewer for one of my past publications and is an authority on media and technology use for learning. After my graduate experience, I’d like to be the director of my own public department, nonprofit organization, or a private consulting practice for community organizations. I also have a strong passion for teaching and would love the opportunity to teach in the community college setting.