I Will be an Agent for Social Change
I arrived at Harvard eager for the world of experiences ahead. Yet as an Air Force Reserve Officer's Training Corp (ROTC) student, much of my academic world had been set up over the summer. My roommates poured over course guides, but my schedule was already laid out before me: math, economics, chemistry, Spanish and ROTC. My first college dilemma wasn't to find the right professor or class size, but to put together my uniform correctly. This being the case, I have had less time to stumble, but more time to focus on my other life choices.
Despite working on a thesis, taking social studies tutorials, attending four-hour long weekly drill practices, doing Physical Training at dawn, and holding leadership positions within the Air Force, my calling has been community service. Through Education 4 Action (E4A), a social justice organization, I have facilitated discussions on race relations, led rallies to bring union picked grapes to campus, and engaged speakers to discuss gender issues. Also, through the First-Year Urban Program, I led incoming first-years and introduced them to public service in Boston. I derived great satisfaction from these projects and realized I wanted to do more. Community service has become my passion and is an activity I want to pursue further.
So far, my journey has been twofold in nature: as an agent for social change through various nonprofits, and as an agent for my country's needs through Air Force ROTC. Today I face a choice. I must decide whether my upcoming Air Force commitment should be geared towards a lifetime career, or should be a stepping stone to the world of nonprofits. I believe the Michael C. Rockefeller Fellowship would provide the perfect opportunity to help me decide what type of public servant I should become.
Because of my sense of obligation, biracial background, and desire to discover a new area of service, I want to volunteer in Trinidad at a halfway house for battered women and children. Having immigrated to the United States from Trinidad as a young child, I have grown up aware of the economic and educational advantages Americans have over their foreign neighbors. I feel that the role of a public servant should not just end at our own borders. As a place for service, Trinidad not only links my cultural past, but serves as a bridge to my racial history. By organizing in a halfway house, I would have the chance to explore a long-term interest of mine: how men can take a more active role in dismantling the social pressures placed on women, bringing about a more balanced society.
ROTC has taught me to think on an international level, but so far my community service participation has been purely local. Volunteering in Trinidad will help me determine whether I can be an agent of social change outside of my own community-a necessary perspective before I start military service. After four years of studying "theory" about society, I want a chance to...