A friend once told me that the best way for a country to improve is by empowering women to create a better future. China also recognizes this aspect and has made some changes in policy to empower women. Even though the situation is getting better, there are still some “old age” traditions that make achieving equality difficult. Many knowledgeable women in China desire to study abroad; however, once they have become mothers, often their desire becomes more difficult. Social convention binds them to stay at home and serve their husbands and children. Admittedly, I am a very lucky woman. My husband supports me spiritually and fiscally, so I could devote myself to study and to my mission to empower women.
I first heard of UW-Whitewater from my husband Joe Zhang. He graduated as an MPA student 8 years ago. The education he got at UW-Whitewater combined with professional experiences he obtained allowed him to take advantage of growing opportunities in China. Together we share the value of flexibility in our careers and so, naturally, I also chose UW-Whitewater to improve my future opportunities as well.
My experience in the Graduate School can help me to influence women in China. After just one year and a half of studying and working in America, I noticed I developed some professional skills such as critical thinking, integrity, making independent judgments, paying attention to detail, and leadership which all gradually transformed my mindset and my working style. These are skills we often do not have opportunities to develop in China. Right now, I am working as a graduate assistant in the Alumni Relations and Development office. In my work, I am responsible for updating the content of the alumni Facebook and LinkedIn pages, helping to improve the structure of the alumni website, creating a succession plan for future graduate assistants, and helping to coordinate alumni events. This job draws from all of these newly developed skills and continues to challenge my abilities daily.
When I go back home to China, not only will I feel accomplished in my successes from my education and experiences in the U.S., but I will also look forward to finding new ways to apply these skills to my career and to empowering other women to have similar success.
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