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'I wanted to become a monkey' - Personal Statement for Masters of Environmental Management


Callipyge 2 / 6 2  
Dec 14, 2020   #1
So I had initially written a personal statement, but after the helpful replies to other people on this site, realized I may have instead written a statement of purpose. Does this better reflect a personal statement? Also, I spent much of my undergrad researching primate behavior. Do I spend do much time discussing that? It was partially a justification to use the snappy opener that got me into all of my undergrad schools. Feeling iffy about that line anyway. Feels less appropriate for grad school. I've still got over 100 words to use, so I can change/add a lot.

Personal Statement

(No more than 650 words)
Describe your academic background, educational goals and post-degree professional goals, and how YSE can prepare you to achieve those objectives.


When I was three years old, I developed my first career aspiration - I wanted to become a monkey. As I matured I began to explore other career paths due to the unfortunate realities of biology. When I was eight, I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps. It gave me the opportunity to teach, see the world, learn new languages, and help people. I thought after Peace Corps, I would go on to study primates.

In college I initially studied Environmental Science, but also focused on behavioral ecology in hopes of finding a blend of conservation and primate behavioral research that suited me. My thought was that though conservation was important, I could find a way to include it in a research focused career. After Peace Corps, I intended to pursue a PhD in Animal Cognition. But through my service it became clear that these issues couldn't take a back-seat.

Peace Corps was challenging. I had been given a placement completely out of my expertise, and I was the first volunteer at my site in Jamaica. But though it was difficult, it was easy to see my efforts rewarded. I quickly realized the importance of a well managed project. Of course it seems obvious, but only as a volunteer working on my own projects did I see how many issues can arise. During my service, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on several small projects as an individual or with my farmers group. I was even able to work on three moderately sized grants authored by myself and the farmers. I learned how easily a project could fail due to any number of factors: apathy, improper estimates, or just disappearing into bureaucracy. When I finally felt that I had caught my stride with a grant for a water catchment system with an education and agro-forestry component, Covid-19 struck. The schools closed, the farmers became preoccupied with finding markets for their produce, and I was sent home.

Though conservation is my paramount concern, it's not achievable without helping stakeholders in developing economies meet their own development goals. To that end, I'm looking for a program that can help me explore the balance between these two critical goals. After, I plan to spread my career through small NGOs, USAID, and UNEP. This diversity will help me to continue the learning process with the goal of promoting sustainable change.

Yale has many great qualities, but what makes Yale my first choice as the next step in my journey are the resources and opportunities available to its students. While I have a strong foundation for understanding the challenges facing the environment in global development, I believe the Environmental Management degree offers unique insights to understand the frameworks surrounding these issues on a deeper level. The Ecosystem Management and Conservation specialization offers a crucial mix of scientific understanding as well as the policy that's key to the implementation of any program. This program not only offers the flexibility to mold the degree to help me succeed in my career, but allows me to explore these topics surrounded by the brightest minds in the field.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,364 3368  
Dec 15, 2020   #2
Forget the reference to your 3-year-old self. That is not going to impress the reviewer. You are writing a personal statement that should show your adult mindset, responsible attitude, and sense of responsibility within your undergraduate and professional development. You are wasting time with that reference. Instead, focus your discussion on explaining how your profession was supported by your notable academic achievements and why you feel that now is the right time for you to pursue a masters course.

The second paragraph has a confusing sentence in it. Since you never referred to the Peace Corps earlier in the presentation, the sudden inclusion of that in the discussion makes it a bit confusing for the reviewer. What does that experience have to do with anything? You should make a proper introduction to that aspect of your life prior to mentioning it later on.
OP Callipyge 2 / 6 2  
Dec 17, 2020   #3
Thank you for the help. Tough words that I needed to hear. I took your advice and focused on my actual strengths, and I think the statement is much better for it.
phidang123 2 / 2  
Dec 17, 2020   #4
You should have an appropriate introduction. For example: My name is ABC, an environmental scientist in BCD institute. I am writing this letter to demonstrate my strong interest in PhD program of EFH at University of XYZ.


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