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Pursuing career as a speech-language pathologist to serve physically incapable

Rachel Wong_250There are many decisions that I am thankful for that have molded me to become the person I am now. During the summer of my sophomore year in high school, I took an American Sign Language class at my community college despite already completing two years of Spanish. I was unaware that the casual interest in this language would ignite the passion for my career. As I learned about the deaf community, I found a desire to help people who are physically impaired.

I attended a mission trip to the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, one of the most dangerous places in California. As I talked to the homeless people there, I realized that they were just appreciative to have someone listen to them. These people wanted someone who would hear their opinions, to know their voice mattered. All these decisions led to experiences that have encouraged me to pursue the major Communication Disorders, in which I can have a career as a speech-language pathologist, serving others who are physically incapable.

In the first eight years of my life, I lived in a very Asian American populated community and was ignorant to the fact that I could be treated differently because of my ethnicity. My family moved away, however, to Vail, Colorado, a ski resort town filled with many wealthy Caucasian people. It was a tremendous culture shock for me to move to a state in which there was less than 3% of Asian Americans total. The only other Asians I met in my city were either adopted or people who recently came to America.

I struggled with making friends with people in my school because I did not have anything in common with them. I was bullied at my local jazz class because the shapes of my eyes and my lips. I was embarrassed to wear my hair in a ponytail because my face would be exposed to others. Even when we moved from Colorado to California, I still continued to struggle with my identity as an Asian American. People would think I was only excelling in my classes because of my ethnicity instead of my work ethic. I tried to inform them that I succeeded because of the hours I spent studying and investing my time in my studies. Getting A’s in school did not come naturally to me because of my ethnicity. To avoid being bullied, I even attempted to fail some of my tests.

If I graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders, I will prove that it was because of my hard work and dedication to pursue my passion that allowed me to receive that diploma. It was not because I’m Asian. It was not because of the salary. It was because of a passion that was stirred in me in my sophomore year. It was because of a love for people.

We are proud to announce Rachel Lillian Wong is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

  • Kim Mark

    This is a well written and heartfelt essay showing how she is using her challenging experience to help others overcome their challenges in life. Rachel shows that she has a passion to help those in need, is a hard worker, smart and studious, and appears most of all, determined to make a difference in people’s lives, because of her love for people.

  • Jules

    I would vote for this candidate because the power of adversity in her life is only trumped by her perseverance and global perspective on what matters most to make the greatest impact for change: connecting with the hearts of people and truly loving with willing hands. Rachels intelligence and commitment to excellence are so beautifully paired with an approachability and heart that inspire others to join the fight!:) respectfully, LCDR Stephen and Juliana Col

  • Faye Chu

    I would vote for this candidate simply because her goal is making the world a better place by serving others who are physically incapable. It is obvious that she has the passion + a heart of compassion. A powerful combination. We really need more people in this world like Rachel Wong.

  • Shaquira Robinson

    This essay is beautiful Rachel!! I am so proud of you, and how you are allowing God to work through you!! You have been such a blessing to me, and I pray that your heart for others would continue to grow!!!

  • Lillian Mark

    Communication whether in word or in deed is vital in promoting relationships. Rachel has chosen to answer to her special calling to the study of communication disorders. Her genuine interest and dedication to the homeless and lonely segment of our society will bring much light into this dark world. With her love for God and His children, Rachel will pursue this area of study and commitment to the physically handicapped of our society.

  • Melissa Lee

    Your story is quite touching. It is unfortunate that you have experienced discrimination through most of your childhood. However, it is wonderful to see how you’ve taken your experiences to find your passion and help others be heard. Continue your hard work and you will succeed!

  • Tami Cripe

    Rachel, we met when you were a quiet middle schooler finding her way. I have watched you grow in the last five years. You are more than a student who loves to learn, but a person who has a heart to service and love. I believe you will take that to any career. God has big plans for you.

  • Troy Folger

    Rachel, I don’t know you well, I know your Mom and Dad and love and respect them. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you were bullied; it must have been painful, but of course our experiences make us who we are and help us become what God needs us to be. We all need to be careful to not give other people the power to define who we are. Best wishes with your studies and your eventual career.

  • Bethany Chu

    Transparent and real. I love your determination and am so encouraged by your selflessness and love for people. Go, Rach! Do work for Jesus!

  • Mary Van Slyke

    You’re amazing and I’m excited to hear how God is using you to learn to communicate to others

  • Patsy Hurley

    I’m so proud of you Rachel. You truly inspire me! Continue to work hard and strive for what you love. You are extremely dedicated and caring! Congrats again I’m proud of you!

  • Azenay Tell

    I am so proud of all that you have accomplished, you continue to succeed and strive for the best. Not only do you strive for the best within your heart, but for the people you are serving and you d not find that in many people! I hope that you continue to hold that passion for serving others and insisting that they have a voice and are heard, because you know that is what everyone deserves no matter their race or economical background. You know, understand and most importantly see everyone as equal. Continue doing the best that you possibly can!

  • Amanda Chisholm

    Such a good essay!! Love how personal it is but it really shows your passion for it! So proud of you! 🙂

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