JustJobs Scholarship Scholarship

Ismeo Carl Jean-Louis – JustJobs Scholarship Finalist for December 2011’s scholarship program is proud to announce Ismeo Carl Jean-Louis as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for his essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

Ismeo Carl Jean-Louis’s Essay:

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

Since I’ve been young I’ve always been thinking about solutions to problems–small problems I can have with my friends or family, and substantial dilemmas like what things would need to change for there to be less trash on the streets of Haiti. Or why is there such a huge informal economy? Why are there so many Haitians who are unemployed? And through most of my time thinking about these issues, I’ve realized the first step and solution for change in Haiti is the change of its people so that when I see the faces of the people on the street I don’t simply see their loss of hope, but people with the faces of confidence, courage, and the belief that this is only the beginning of something greater.

This starts with the change of someone like me having the opportunity to go to college and get an education, and bring those benefits back to the country I was raised in. Choosing to study industrial
engineering isn’t simply because I love math, science, or learning how things work; I want to be able to help the production and the organization of major industries, providing them with the information
and expertise that will help them succeed where they failed before–helping industries like chocolate and sugar flourish and grow in their production processes. I want to be part of what is going on that’s wrong and turn it to be what is going on that’s right.

I believe a career as an industrial engineer will help me to face these challenges because it is my plan to return to Haiti to make a difference and change the rest of the world’s perception of Haiti. I want to help return it to its former name–the Pearl of the Antilles. More specifically, I want to position Haiti as one of the major exporters of chocolate and sugar within the international community which are currently not being used effectively. This may seem like a huge dream–and I know it’s going to be hard–but I think that with everything I learned throughout my training as an industrial engineer at Penn State, I will have the tools to take the country to a place it never thought it would be.

To achieve my goal in Haiti there are many steps that I need to take. In pursuit of my degree in industrial engineering, I first would like to learn the basic functions of systems. What makes a system? How it works and how it doesn’t? How to modify poorly run systems to make them run to their best. Then I would like to go more in depth into larger industries, and their structures. How they work, and what makes them improve or weaken. Other than learning about industrial engineering, I would like to experience it. Experience it by doing internships, co-ops, or even work studies in the field. I want to get experience in the field with in the United States and internationally to become a well-rounded, world class engineer. And finally, one of the best ways of mastering a field is being able to work with an expert of that field, having a mentor to walk me through points in industrial engineering that I won’t be able to learn in class.

Living in Haiti at times may have been scary and tough. I had to go through and experience many tough challenges that made me much stronger today. There’s always been a problem of safety and stability, and because of that there have been times when my school would give the students packets of work and quizzes to do on their own. Also the government would sometimes want schools to be closed, but because of the loss of too many days we were told to come to school in non-uniform to try and disguise ourselves as, not students. Not having electricity all the time was also a hassle sometimes in getting long work assignments done under candle light. It might have been annoying but it taught me things in life that will continue to help in my future career. It taught me that things like  procrastination wasn’t an option for me anymore. Because if it was, I wouldn’t get nearly close enough to where I am today. I’ve been through a lot and grew through a lot, and I acknowledge all that I went through because it didn’t only help me understand the culture of Haiti, but many other cultures around the world. This gave me the dream for me to help change it to be a better place.

I drew much of my inspiration from my father who also has that dream to help Haiti‘s economy, though he specializes more in job creation. In his organization they execute many projects in business incubation by helping small entrepreneurs and businesses grow to be able to employ more people, and also train the youth of Haiti and help place them in various industries. I want to have an international impact as well as a national impact by working with the informal economy and formalizing it by helping small entrepreneurs become more efficient as well, working as a consultant in both sectors.

Haiti is in great need to improve the way and life of its people. And I think one of the first steps for that to happen is to revamp the country’s economic landscape. I am tired of watching a country that I love and care about continue to hold the name of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I am certain that getting the best education I can will be one step for me to start to be able to change that reputation and create substantial change in not only how the rest of the world see Haiti but how Haitians view their own country.

Ismeo Carl Jean Louis

JustJobs Scholarship Scholarship

Rebecca Leff – JustJobs Scholarship Finalist for December 2011’s scholarship program is proud to announce  Rebecca Leff as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for her essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

Rebecca Leff’s Essay:

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

If you asked me about poetry, I could tell you something about history’s famous poets. I could quote the popular theories on Shakespeare’s sonnets, cite my favorite T.S. Eliot passages, maybe even recite E.E. Cummings’ Somewhere I Have Never Traveled,Gladly Beyond from memory purely because I have read it so many times. But I can’t tell you why Shakespeare sat down, quill in hand, to write his 116th sonnet. I can’t tell you if hurt to put the words on the page or if set him free. And I’m never going to be able to tell you those things.

But I can you tell you what his words mean to me. I can tell you that everytime I watch Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility and I hear Mariane quote that sonnet as she gapes at the sight of Allenham Mannor that my world changes. I can tell you that I know what it means when love is unhinged, when it “ bends with the remover to remove,” “when it looks on tempests and is shaken.” I can tell you that in the hindsight of the 394 years since Shakespeare wrote that ”If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved,” that man has loved. And I can tell you that his words changed something because I can tell you with all certainty and all truth that his words have changed me.

Change. It’s a powerful thing. For a long time I was afraid that with all the people in this world that I would get swallowed up, that out of the billions of people on this earth, I would be nothing because I wasn’t Mozart or Spielberg, afraid that I was doomed to be Salieri looking up at Mozart, saying why, why couldn’t it be me. And maybe, maybe, if I just tried a little harder that I would never have to hear Mozart’s music with a tinge of sadness, that I would hear that music and be proud that it was mine. And sure, I still want those things. I’m no saint. But it isn’t what sets me on fire. It isn’t what let’s me burn. I will always create. I will always write. And I will always sing. Not because I want to, but because I have to. Because I don’t know how to live any other way. And I will be content with that life.

But I dream of change. I dream that someday someone will sit at their computer at 2:30 am, as I am doing right now, and instead of writing about how Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet set them ablaze that they will say that the screenplay Rebecca Leff wrote ignited an inferno that burned with such fervor that the glow could be seen for miles. You don’t have to be Nelson Mandela to throw a pebble into the water, but boulder or pebble, you still can make a wave. And it’s the pebbles that end up making the difference. I was in ninth grade and it was maybe 2:00 or 3:00 am when a pebble set this wave in motion. I had just been watching a documentary and to tell you truth I can’t even remember what the documentary was about. But at the time it moved me, and I was too unsetteled to go to sleep. So, when this film popped up on my television screen at 2:00 or 3:00 am I didn’t let the sand man take me away. I watched it. It was a film that no one has ever heard of, that I can’t even find to see again, and it was a film that changed my life. For the first time I picked up my pen and just wrote.

Writing felt like falling in love. At first it was a rush, but then it got painful and sometimes I had to walk away. And yet I gave my heart out knowing that it might come back in pieces for the chance, that one chance, that I would surface from the depths of emotion with something beatiful, a momment without worry, a momment without fear. That morning I felt something so passionate that there was no turning back. So, I give myself out to you now, knowing that I might come back in pieces for the chance, that one chance, that my dream just might come true, that where ever I end up might bring me one step closer to that dream. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have known since 9th grade that I would be a film major. I didn’t know that I would be double majoring with legal studies and pursuing a minor in music. All I knew is that I wanted to make films ad I wanted to take classes that inspired creation. I wanted to right wrongs and tell truths. I wanted to dig my hands into the earth and come out with a flower. But film is scary. It’s not the easiest career. And sometimes I wake up in the morning breathing in long breaths, sweating because I’m afraid I can’t do this. But I have to. I couldn’t live knowing I didn’t try. If I want to live and not just exist, I have to try.


Victoria T. Shih – DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist for December 2011’s scholarship program for diversity and minority students is proud to announce Victoria T. Shih as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for her essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

Victoria T. Shih’s Essay:

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

In a recent Tea Party presidential debate, CNN moderator Wolf Blizer’s asked hypothetical question to presidential candidate, Ron Paul, about whether an uninsured 30 year working man in a coma should be treated. Paul responded “What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself” where audience members then cheered, and after a pause, Blitzer followed up by asking “Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” to which a small number of audience members shouted “Yeah!”

Three years ago, my mom was laid off from the company where she had been working for twenty five years. Along with her salary, she lost a generous health benefits package that provided quality healthcare for my family. The plight of the uninsured hit home as I often imagine what if one of my family members had became seriously ill during this period. Without health insurance, the financial burden of a costly medical condition can easily wipe out the lifetime savings and hard work of a middle or working class family. Yet Paul and his audience shockingly stated that they are willing to leave 50.9 million uninsured people to die on the streets demonstrating a stunning lack of apathy.

My decision to enter the field of public health with a concentration in public policy and management arose from my understanding of the plight of the uninsured and disadvantaged. The social injustice and inequality that has arisen within the United State’s current health care system is simply unacceptable. The major issues I discovered were the inability for the members of each health industry to think beyond themselves: to consider the long term impact of their decisions and actions by putting larger interests above their own. Medical facilities are unwilling to lower costs of inexpensive procedures, drug companies are charging exorbitant rates for cheap drugs, insurance companies are charging hefty premiums, and healthy individuals are unwilling to pay for insurance until they get sick. From both my studies and life experiences, my interest with public health policy has grown, fueled by the fact that millions including my neighbors, family, and friends are denied access to life saving procedures, drugs, and health services on a daily basis.

My college degree in public health represents much more than personal academic achievement. It represents the cumulative hard work and successes of my parents and grandparents. All four of my grandparents could not afford to attend college, but   valued education highly. My grandfather immigrated to the United States when he was fourteen years old. He originally worked as a cook in the ghettoes of New York. Later, he was drafted into the US army to fight in World War II. When my grandfather was my age, he served as a cook in the army to contribute to the war effort. He landed on D-Day on the chaotic beaches of Normandy, France, and then marched with his army platoon all the way to Berlin, Germany till the end of the war. After the war, he settled with my grandmother and opened a tiny grocery store. My grandparents struggled through financial difficulties, yet resolutely instilled in my mom the value of education. My grandfather was able to send all of his children to college through scholarships and loans. My grandparents’ value of education has been passed down to me.

Therefore, my college degree represents my family’s value of education as well as the difficulties and burdens that my family has overcome. The college degree will allow me to pursue a career that I am passionate about while creating the foundation for success.  It represents a treasured opportunity to move forward to have a better life.


Manting Mandy Wong – DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist for December 2011’s scholarship program for diversity and minority students is proud to announce  Manting Mandy Wong as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for her essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

Manting Mandy Wong’s Essay:

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

“Why are bacteria treated with antibiotics while viruses can only be eliminated with rest and a healthy immune system?” my father asks me. I can recall many moments where our conversation drifted into talks about the biology behind life. My dad’s unmistakable curiosity towards living things, driven by his lifelong disappointment of giving up college to take care of his mother and find work has profoundly influenced my interests, appreciation of education, and curious personality. A yearlong passion, during those long blazing summer afternoons and after elementary school, crafting a miniature habitat for snails, Louise and Joel in a shoebox—with leaves from pink roses and olive trees found in the front lawn and branches from my Japanese maple tree—would be my most excited plan as soon as coming home. Other times, it would be trapping spiders and ants in empty plastic bottles to test predator, prey interactions. Through trials, I had observed that webs are characteristically that of spiders as they meticulously wrapped the deceased ants in a tight, oval-like bound.

Carefree times in childhood like these have significantly molded me towards the biological sciences major. Thanks to my parents, I had the freedom to sit in the garden all day , cultivate experiments, and contemplate. Where invention and individual thinking was fostered, I remember a magical haven in uncovering characteristics within and between organisms, observing backyard insect taxonomy, and comparing a collection of experiments, their processes and results. This deep passion for living things carried on to high school, and presently, at the University of California.

In the summer of 2007, I was offered a temporary position at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Voice shaking and highly impatient, a mother tells me her 4 year old may have had a relapse with hematuria, symptoms including reoccurring abdominal pain, headaches, and having blood in the urine. In the beginning I was not sure how to handle a situation so delicate and unfortunate. After many similar cases, the nurses Gale and Lena began to trust in my ability to calm worried parents and ushered me the responsibility of handling urgent calls in the Nephrology department, which specializes in less severe to life-threatening kidney diseases. The administrative department required quick decision-making and overcoming undesirable and unpredictable situations, which I gradually grew accustomed to. This led to my improved leadership and management skills.

As an office administration temp, I was granted experience in human relations, learning the computer software systems for managing medical practices, and communication with families of patients. This positioned introduced me into a network of health insurance corporations like Blue Shield, renal nurses and physicians, referring doctors from around the globe, and a renal program manager who dealt with organ transplant.

There was much to see, ask, and absorb, and it was the experience I had been waiting for as a brainy, lacking real-life medical field experience, college student. With ambulance sirens ringing in the background, physicians having serious discussions about an autistic dialysis patient in the meeting room as I sat in, watched, and delivered coffee and patient medical history files. All of it, the medicinal world, the sickness and the hope that still lingers, became bracingly real and fascinating.

As a first-generation college student, I have had to navigate the higher-education world with few direction from my parents and family. This has been a great challenge because while I have much freedom to explore and independently navigate the academic world, in the beginning I had struggled with understanding the purpose and function of college. Wide-eyed I explored different departments of academia, but ultimately, I had not known what they meant to me and what it could mean for my future. It took me two, perhaps all four and a half of these years of college to understand how to fully savor college and use it to its full beneficiary potential–how I can utilize knowledge learned from classes for the future and to foster and satisfy my intellectual curiosities. In the beginning I wanted to steer my college career towards what I perceived to be successful (adding to the resume, what looks good). But in the end, college became a search for my identity and a place to uncover my true interests whether I had known what they were before college or not, and a place to make friends one has been searching for and to make friends one would not expect.

For example, I took a Chinese language course because I have always wanted to improve my Chinese (to my parents surprise) and two Asian American classes that has exposed the struggles of Asian Americans and what Asian Americans can do to be more pro-active in our communities. I have also joined two film clubs in my college career, feeding intellectual as well as social aspects of my college experience. Additionally, as a kid I had wanted to cure cancer. Now in college, despite being rejected by many professors, I persisted and have been able to attain an undergraduate research position in cancer and stem cell research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, fulfilling another curiosity of mine.

But while I have been exposed to many different and amazing realms of academia, I have also struggled with balance. Being a part of extracurricular activities is also a large part of the college experience, as well as work study and research. Balancing all these in addition to academics has not been easy. However, I would not take back some of the sacrifices I have made in my grades for the privileges of research and social and intellectual opportunities that I have added to my plate. I think the struggles of having a too busy college career is a privilege rather than a burden.

Thank you for reading my statement!