I knew I had to step my game up. With the help of my mentors, Dr. Idit Harel and Jess Reid Sliwerski, I leveled up to pursue a new journey. I prepared my application to Columbia University. Filling out my name was easy, then came the personal statement. I stared at the blinking cursor on Google Docs with a blank face.
Oh, how things have changed since that Mexican stare down with the blinking cursor. I’m diving head first into Teacher’s College pursuing my master’s degree in Design and Development of Digital Games, part of the first cohort at Columbia University. Technology is forever evolving and iterating. Education is transforming to focus on higher order thinking skills, collaboration, and problem-solving. I like the way my professor, Dr. Joey Lee, described our new generation, “Say goodbye to the information age, this is the experience age.”
If you are writing your own story, don’t forget to have someone revise your essay and pay a visit to Story2! Below is my personal statement. Read it, share it, and use it to help yourself or others.
June 5th, 2016
Statement of Purpose
Throughout my life, games have challenged me physically and mentally. Games are the undercurrent of my familial relationships, my friendships, my greatest moments of success and now, my career. One game in particular, fútbol, has been a defining experience in my life.
Fútbol is known as the beautiful game of the world. A game that is fundamental to the relationship I have with my father. The summer before my freshman year, I strictly followed a summer training schedule to prepare myself for pre-season and my first collegiate season. At 7 a.m. every morning for three months, I ran 3-miles at Joe Palaia Park. In the evening, I would either practice with my summer team, train with a senior-teammate, or play pick-up soccer with the boys. Twice a week, I would train three times a day. One of the three sessions would be at 12 p.m. in the blazing hot sun. I sought success through commitment and discipline.
The sweat, blood, and tears from the endless training sessions and games that my father took me to all over the country led to a spectacular moment on the Great Lawn at Monmouth University. The 2007 NEC Championship Final game against Sacred Heart University was the pinnacle of my fútbol career.
“Today is the day. It is your day to come together as a team and bring the title home,” vivaciously exclaimed former alumni Christie Pearce Rampone, the U.S. Women’s National Team gold medalist who was serving as the honorary captain at our game.
Thirteen minutes into the game my teammate, Illiana, crossed the ball along the crisp green pitch in front of the net. I pushed my shoulder into the opponent’s shoulder, muscling my way to the ball, tapping it gently to control my first touch. Dribble, I’m using my body to keep the defender back. Dribble, I beat the goalie and score!
It was a day to be remembered on the Great Lawn because at that moment I proved to myself, my team and all those watching that Monmouth was worthy of its first NCAA appearance. I went on to complete my collegiate fútbol career with two NEC championships.
Reflecting upon that great win in 2007, I now see that games serve a higher purpose in life. Games teach us how to socialize with one another, how to challenge our brains and bodies, how to understand failure and grow from it. In today’s society, digital games are an integral part of our daily lives. I have always been a consumer of digital games but now I want to be a producer. I want to be a designer and visionary of digital games, developing educational games for people to share with the world for all to learn.
This fiery desire to become a digital game designer is honed daily at my current company, Globaloria. Working for Dr. Idit Harel, a graduate of M.I.T, opened my eyes to the world of digital games and the theory behind her educational technology company. Constructionism stems from Piaget’s constructivism, where children learn by playing, a theory I am very familiar with from my undergraduate studies. Idit’s fascinating work with Seymour Papert explains that children construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences through digital media.
I am in pursuit of being a sh-ero educational game designer of the future. I am confident in my abilities as a player, both on and off the field, at work, or in the classroom. It would be an honor to attend Columbia University and pursue my master’s in Design and Development of Digital Games to represent all women, especially Latina women, in the field of technology.