As a second-generation Mexican-American born into a family of nurses, I felt strong pressure to select a reliable and pragmatic career course. My parents approved a medical path for me because of its 'real world value,' especially in this unstable economy. I felt, however, that my own desires were being stifled. Through the first few semesters of college, I did well in my classes, but never felt truly at ease with where I was headed. I knew that my strengths and interests lay much more in the study of literature and film, areas hardly suitable to a career in the sciences. In an epiphanic moment, I realized, during a biology study session, how closely linked the mind and body are, and how much care both of these need, physically, mentally, and educationally. I perceived that to pursue the teaching of literature would be just as beneficial to society as to pursue the practice of medicine. After all, teaching is a form of public health, cultivating the care and creation of healthy minds. During my undergraduate college career, I enjoyed the full range of coursework in English literature, as well as coursework across cultural and historical studies in general, yet gender studies and queer theory, especially in regards to cinematic representations of gender and queer identity, galvanized a determination to pursue doctoral research in these areas. Reading authors such as Judith Butler, on gender performativity, and Richard Dyer, on gay representation in film, ignited in me a fascination with the complexities of sexuality. In a Romanticism class, I wrote on the lesbian presence in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Christabel.” A class on women’s literature provided me critical historical background that helped me to write on the subjugation and mistreatment of homosexuality in contemporary Hollywood films. UMass's strong and diverse English program, especially its strength in gender/queer studies and film, has led me to believe it would be the perfect place for the kind of graduate work I am eager to pursue. Faculty members such as Deborah Carlin and Peter Gizzi would be especially exciting to study under. Additionally, the research resources, financial support for incoming graduate students, and excellent job placement rate for graduating Ph.D. students further attract me to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My career goals encompass not only research but also, importantly, teaching. During my last two semesters as an undergraduate, three separate professors selected me to grade for their world literature classes. These grading positions, especially in conjunction with my own classes, helped give me an idea of the work-load I would be expected to handle as a teacher’s assistant. In addition, leadership positions in such organizations as Sigma Tau Delta gave me opportunities to gain experience in service, both on campus and in the local community, which assisted in enhancing my group work skills and social connectivity. Finally, mentoring and tutoring elementary, middle, and high schoolers proved to me that I have a passion for instruction, even when it comes down to more rudimentary subject matter. Utilizing the resources I have learned and the ones I will gain from graduate school, I intend to contribute a new ideology concerning the study of sexuality in the media, specifically focused on a critical approach to contemporary Hollywood films, a genre I feel often underrepresented in film theory. I feel this goal would be realized at the University of Massachusetts with a more personalized instructional method than anywhere else. This school also gives me the opportunity to instruct in a classroom after my first year, allowing me to a privilege that would enable me to grow immensely as both a student and teacher of literature.
Taking from my own nursing background and familyâ€™s values, this opportunity presents the ideal chance to develop not only my own mind, but more importantly, the minds of other students, enhancing our collective social identity.