When pursuing a bachelor degree after high school, I was asked with a question of ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ It was a very difficult question to answer because I was still trying to figure out the kind of person I wanted to be. Being raised in my family where education is the number one priority, my life was always dedicated to my studies.. My goal was just to finish my studies with good grades, be the first in my family to graduate from college, and keep on pursuing it to the highest level.
When I graduated from Kean University with a B.S. in Accounting, I was proud of my accomplishment, but I didn’t felt passion. Accounting was safe and something I was good at. It involved mathematics, organization, and discipline. That defines what I like and who I am as a person. It wasn’t until 2016, that I realized that I can use what I learned in Accounting and do what I actually wanted, which was making this world a better place.
‘To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition…To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived’. When I heard those words, I knew I want to more with my career by helping people and contributing more as a citizen. Throughout my experiences and work, I understood the difference of a public sector and a private sector. Unlike private sector that is principally motivated by self-interest, public sector decision is highly influenced by the public interest.
Thus, public administration would be the best platform for me to be able to contribute. When I began working at Rutgers as a Grant Accountant in my first non profit job, I started to realize that pursuing my master’s degree in the public administration, was a good decision to make. Soon, I began to develop my interest and started to picture myself pursuing a career in it.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, women who inspired me to purse a route that I honestly never knew was possible for me. Born from immigrant parents who came to the United States from Colombia and raised in Elizabeth NJ, getting involved in politics was rarely in our family discussions. My parents left everything behind and worked hard so that I can have what they never had. I remember being in elementary looking for books on female presidents for a book report project and feeling disappointed on not finding one. When my teacher told me that there never was one, right after school I told my father “I wanted to be president.” His first response was “Are you sure? How about a businesswoman?”. He knew about the barriers a latina from low middle class family would gace, and he didn’t his daughter to face rejections that laid ahead for her. In his lifetime, the idea of women in politics was rare but not impossible. One had to come from wealthy, important families and the best education money can buy. Things he knew he could never provide to his daughter. However what he gave what he could provide, his knowledge in mathematics and finance along with exceptional work ethics.
I started working at the age of fourteen as a youth soccer referee, and it was then when I first experienced my own case of racism, sexism, and agism. Growing up in a diverse city like Elizabeth you never considered yourself as a minority. However at fourteen years old, I was in a room of middle age white men learning how to become a referee. I asked my dad where the other girls where, and he really didn’t have a response. People where actually stunned that what I was doing, “Why do let you daughter do that? That is not a suitable job for a girl her age?”. His response was, “She is a smart kid, I know she will be better than any male referee if she puts her mind to it.” He was right. Years later, after other young girls saw me on the field, more started to join in. I was awarded with Rookie of the year in my league and soon other titles with the following years.
There were obstacles, many men did not like the fact that a seventeen year girl was in charge. They tried to intimidate me by yelling, only talking to my fellow male referee officials, challenging every call I made, and even threaten me. However, I learned to stand my ground. I learned that if I displayed confidence, did the right calls, and knew my job better than anybody else, I was in the right. At seventeen years old I had to know every detail of the rule book better, be faster, and stronger than any man who automatically believed knew better than me. It reminds me of Charlotte Whitton quote “Whatever women do they must twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” My father was afraid, and he wanted to be in every game to protect me, but I am grateful for that experience. I learned to be fearless, to learn discipline, and more importantly use my voice.
After high school I pursed a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. While studying full time, I worked two jobs and did full time internship. Through educational courses and finance jobs,I learned that what makes an accountant is honesty. Honesty and integrity are a vital role and we provide accurate and biased-free reports in order to run day to day operations. It is the primary characteristic of being an accountant, what help us make crucial final decisions.
One of my biggest accomplishments last year was the opening of a new dog park. In the spring of 2018 I started doing research on how to build a dog park in our community. I’ve met with the Mayor and Councilmen about the process of getting one. I began with a petition that get over 200+ in just one weekend. By the beginning of the summer there was over a thousand signatures, when I presented the petition to the Freeholders, they were on board. This December we opened Elizabeth’s first dog park. To many its small, but to me and many other dog owners that was long needed. Things, like a dog park are what helps build a community. Local governments can make monumental changes that can benefits its citizens and future generations. A dog park is just the first of many other changes and ideas that I want to implement in Elizabeth, Rutgers, Union County and in New Jersey.
Right now in our country, we have public servants that are unqualified and not doing their due-diligence of serving their citizens. I am personally disappointed that policies are implemented that are causing more harm than good to my friends, family, and neighbors. The year 2016 was a wake-up call to do something that bigger than myself. Therefore, I decided to pursue Master’s degree in Public administration.
Rutgers SPAA program is top 20 ranking in the country, I believe that studying here will provide me with nothing but the best. Modules such as Administrative Ethics, Intergovernmental and Intersectoral Management, as offered in your Master in Public Administration has attracted me to applying here. I’m sure that this programme is what I need to manage the public sector professionally in the future. With what I have learned in my bachelor degree may not be enough for me to attain my goal. Hopefully after completion of this program, I intend to work for the objectives of my professional career. I believe that I am fit and competent to be successful in your Master of Public Administration. I thank you, in advance, for your valuable time and consideration for accepting me to your programme.