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Would anyone be willing to read my diversity statement?

paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 5,089 Senior Member
UMN Twin city graduate school requires a diversity statement that is no longer than a page.
The thing is..well, I am an asian. We are minority, but this "model minority" stigma takes the diversity away from us because almost all of us like math and science, and unfortunately, I am one of them too. I don't know if I have anything unique to say, but I will have to try.

Could anyone volunteer to read mine and say if it's interesting at least?

Replies to: Would anyone be willing to read my diversity statement?

  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 4,558 Senior Member
    I'll do a brief critique.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    I can't commit to reading it and returning it in any realistic period of time (my next few weeks are swamped). But I can offer some advice that may apply more generally.

    I'm assuming that this is the prompt you are considering:

    Enrolling and graduating a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota's mission. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to your graduate program and to the education of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success.(please do not exceed one page in length unless your program has provided separate instructions)

    Diversity is SO much broader than just your race and ethnicity. It also can be interpreted broadly beyond just "math and science" generally to think more about specific kinds of math and science. For example, it appears from your previous threads that you are interested in food science (although you've also asked about a lot of other types of graduate programs). In 2016, out of 163 recipients of doctoral degrees in food science, only 8 were Asian U.S. citizens.* And if you look at the agricultural sciences as a broad field, only 52 of the nearly 1400 degree earners that year were Asian U.S. citizens.

    Certain subgroups of Asians/Asian Americans are also more underrepresented in certain fields. For example, I know in my current field (technology), Southeast Asians (like folks with origins in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, etc.) are underrepresented, as are Pacific Islanders, who are often lumped in with "Asians" all up.

    But think beyond your ethnicity/race. There are other dimensions of your identity, and then things beyond social identity characteristics. What about your lived experiences makes you unique? How can you contribute to diversity even if it's not through your own identity, but through working towards increasing the diversity of your field and of science in general? Do you do any science communication work, any volunteering in your community, any liaisons with industry? Is your area of interest a kind offbeat, emerging, or new one? Have you had any struggles in your past that you've had to overcome - big or small?

    Honestly, if you want to get really creative, you could even write about your struggle (if you've had one) against the "model minority" stereotype. There's a lot of research that shows that's more damaging to Asians and Asian Americans than it is helpful. People may put you in a box or pigeonhole you because of your race.


    *Caveat: 92 of these were visa holders from other countries, and the NSF does not report the race/ethnicity of those visa holders.
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 5,089 Senior Member
    Thanks for the advice,
    yesterday I just started to write my struggle in a rant mode(no polishing whatsoever, just writing as much as i could think of), and I think I actually have a lot to write about my financial struggle, feeling of subtle isolation of Asian studnets in my school and my hesitation about to talk about financial problem to others because of "rich Chinese" stigma. Also, the fact that I lived in two politically opposite state may be an interesting thing to talk about.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 4,558 Senior Member
    @paul2752: Please go with the other poster as I prefer not to share editing with others as the writers voice tends to get lost when over-edited. Plus, I am best at law school personal statements.

    Good luck !
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,039 Senior Member
    Paul, agree 100% with juillet that this is not about race, per se. You've been a charming guy on CC, have lots of interests or experiences and can tap into that, as part of your response. Anf by now you know this is more than about a financial struggle, to find the positives.

    Start simple. In part, this question is to see how you think outside just your stem box. Off the top of my head, I suspect the "motivation" and "high standrards" are to guage your collaborative skills and good will, maybe "leadership qualities," not only the quality of the work. Breathe.
    :)
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