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Diversity Statement - Ebony and Infinity
"According to the National Children's Defense Fund handout in front of you, 'One in every twenty-one thousand black women receive a Ph.D. in mathematics and/or any of the natural sciences,'" my professor explained. "If you use these figures, that means you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than of earning a doctoral degree."
My heart stopped after hearing those numbers, for I was a black female student planning to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. I asked the teacher if he was sure that those statistics weren't a misprint. He replied, "These are the correct figures."
I was in disbelief while my instructor continued to discuss the other chances black students had in different fields. Still shocked hours later, I analyzed why I chose math as my major. I was strong in math; I enjoyed manipulating the equations; I loved the concepts found in the subject; Furthermore, I adored the logical thought process.
Even though I had established why I chose my major, the thought of my chances continued to upset me. That is the reason why I find it so important to strive for a Ph.D. in mathematics. I believe I can beat those odds, set a positive example, and hopefully inspire others to help change those statistics.
Being strong in my field, I decided to apply for a position as a math tutor. I received the job. I also ran for the freshman representative for Minority Achievers in Science (MAS) and was voted in. The experiences have helped me develop my skills and help others. As a tutor, I aid students in seeing the concepts; then they do well. In addition, I represent MAS, and they feel comfortable with my representation. Nothing makes me feel better than being around people and helping them.
By getting a degree of my choice in mathematics, hopefully I will set an example for my two younger sisters. I am the first in my family to attend a four-year university. My effort to pursue my education is a good example for my sisters. I not only want to succeed, I want to raise their expectations and see them succeed also.
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Lastly, I want others to be inspired and strive for a Ph.D. in any subject of their choice. I want to set a good example, not only for my community but also for other students in similar situations.
Finally noticing that the reason why our instructor gave use the shocking information about black women in the sciences was to inspire us and not let numbers discourage us, I am determined to be that one in twenty-one thousand. I just hope lightning won't strike me in the meantime!