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Graduate School Diversity, Asia, Ukraine

As a child of an immigrant family from the Ukraine, I came to the West at the close of a  long and brutal era in my country of origin; I was only 13 years old when I escaped with my family to the West. For me, diversity in America is not so much formed on the basis of our genetic codes, but by our experiences as immigrants, learning English from scratch as an adolescent, for example, as in my case, as well as being Jewish. I have learned to understand and appreciate how often imagined differences turn out to be only skin deep, and people of vastly different ethnic and cultural backgrounds can indeed form lasting and highly valued friendships, and learn a great deal from each other. I see America as a place where we are all of diverse backgrounds and have similar opportunities to become successful, irrespective of our unique cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

When I came to the U.S., I adjusted my way of thinking and behaving within this new environment; I hit the ground running in a struggle for adaptability and creativity mixed with freedom and service towards others. I persevered from day one and learned to deal with my fears, thereby becoming comfortable and finding fulfillment in life for myself and my family. Most of all, I am deeply inspired by what my parents had to go through in order to provide for a better future for their children: insisting on sacrificing in their own lives so as to provide a springboard for us.  My parents taught me that one can succeed as a result of enormously hard work and dedication coupled to a positive outlook on life, and to believe that we can indeed fulfill our dreams.  

My background has also taught me to see the best in people and not be afraid to share my opinions.  When I interact with people, I keep in mind that they might not understand where I am coming from and, thus, I always strive for effective communication, so that we can learn from each other. I am especially fascinated by history, art, business, and politics and I enjoy holding discussions with others on these subjects. I have come to accept and account for the fact that I tend to hold views on certain subjects that are often at odds with mainstream opinion. But I am enormously curious, and in most cases I do far more listening than expounding. I have learned to enjoy respecting what others have to say as well as the broad variety of cogent positions that one can take with regard to controversial issues, learning how to think in a broader sense about the world in general and the people that I interact with in particular. My experiences have taught me a lot about how to become an increasingly understanding person and quite capable of appreciating broadly disparate points of view without rushing to judgment. I see this as singularly American and a testimony to my successful assimilation. It is easy for me to find common ground with my fellowman.

My application is also strengthened by the fact that I have a diverse professional background. Having held positions in both manufacturing and service-oriented companies, I have come to appreciate the critical role that diversity plays in the business world.  I am also interested in the complex relationships that exist between diversity and sustainable, environmentally conscious public policy; the contributions that diversity makes to workplace quality and worker satisfaction. I try to always maintain a high sense of integrity to my own roots and ethnic heritage and to honor the nation that I have adopted as well as my culture of origin.

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