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Striving to become an effective educator and leader by cultivating passion and knowledge

At a young age, I struggled to understand the importance of school and education, as my reality comprised poverty and shelters. This new change, a combination of moving from shelter to shelter, dealing with recently divorced parents as a result of domestic violence, and having a mother who worked low-wage jobs to raise her three children on her own, was hard for me to adjust to. Education played an important factor in my childhood, as it was one of my saving benefactors. I could have easily been a statistic contributing to the rise of truancy, crimes, or even worse, death. Throughout middle school, I went to the after-school tutoring services, and then I would bus to the library, where I stayed until it closed.

With the availability of resources and overwhelming support from educators, mentors, and librarians, I was able to stay on track and placed in one of the most rigorous high schools in the city. The overwhelming support I have received from passionate educators, programs, and separate individuals became my driving force in my approach to teaching. I became close to the principals and teachers in my life who played a significant role in making sure I stayed focused on my studies, and in turn, I was truly touched and inspired to be a teacher who not only educates students but also assists those who are in need, like I once was.

My experience with working with underprivileged students was the wake-up call and push I needed to seek my Masters of Arts in Childhood Education. I walked into my second-grade class on my first day as an after school teacher with an uneasy heart and unsettled stomach. Some students were already seated; some were crawling on the floor; some were on the cabinets. With a clear and loud voice, I said one of the most common attention getters, “one, two, three, all eyes on me.” For a brief instant, I managed to introduce myself; however, the students quickly lost their attention and resumed their chatting. Within the first hour, I managed to take verbal attendance, but unfortunately, this was followed by some students shouting out profanity, two separate physical fights, one student crawling on the cabinets, one crawling under the tables, and another student throwing books. I struggled with this new situation—a change in the classroom dynamics—with student learning behaviors that suddenly felt unfamiliar. Having worked in this setting where behavioral issues dominated and negatively affected the students’ learning, I struggled to understand how I could teach them.

This struggle, however, developed into my passion and drive: to learn and culminate the skills needed to inspire students to develop a love for learning. I strive towards becoming an effective educator and leader in hopes of making a difference and creating change for our next generation by cultivating their passion and knowledge. With this degree, I could open endless doors of opportunity and inspire students to pursue their interests and initiate change within their communities.

We are proud to announce Cindy Chung 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 ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

160 comments

  • Cindy, you are so well-deserving of this scholarship! The world needs more like you in this field! You bring so much leadership, passion, and enthusiasm to the communities and classrooms you engage with and I can’t think of a better example for our youth. I can’t wait to see what you bring to the table with a Masters in Childhood education!

    • Thank you so much for your support Amy! I can’t wait to shake up the education world and work with the students!

    • Thank you Nova! Your support means a lot! It’s where my passion lies and I can’t wait to explore it a little more!

  • I’m super excited and proud of Cindy! She has come so far and excelled flawlessly within the education field. Her passion and dedication have left a lasting impression on the students she has taught. I wish her the best and will look forward to see her as our future leader! Best of luck!

  • Such a delightfully written essay! Your story touched my heart and I wish you the best of luck in your future adventure!

  • You’re always patient and caring towards your students. We need more Cindys in this world. Best wishes to you!

    • Thank you for your support Isabelle! I love working with my students! They bring me many smiles and stomaches from laughing.

  • Hi Cindy, I am so proud of all that you have been able to overcome in life to get to where you are today. Your drive and commitment to breaking the cycle helped bolster the other side of the statistic that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Keep going!

    • Thank you for your support Quan! It means a lot to me! I still have a lot to learn and grow. I will try my best to impact many others so they also have a choice and choose not to be just a statistic!

  • I see nothing but success in your future Cindy! I admire your tenacity to help inspire students to excel in their studies and realize the importance of education.

  • Through many trials and adversity, cindy remains a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance. It has been my personal pleasure to see cindy grow and develop into the accomplished woman she is today. She has always strived for excellence and always maintained a positive and happy demeanor. I know that she will continue to make her friends proud and take on challenges in the education sector, providing fresh insight and perspective into the possibilities of educating our youth.

    • Thank you so much for your faith and belief in me! I’m so excited for this new journey of mine and hopefully impact many others as they have impacted me. I am so grateful for your support and guidance throughout it all.

  • For as long as I’ve known Cindy she has been committed to education, whether that’s through her work at YMCA after school programs or her larger goal of becoming a school principal. I’m confident that Cindy will achieve her goals and am hoping this scholarship gets her one step closer!

  • I’ve seen how hard you’ve worked throughout college, I know you’d be a great asset to any business lucky enough to have you. Best of luck!

  • Proud of you cindy for your passion to help others and your resilience in overcoming adversity. Good luck!

    • Thank you Jessica! I hope and will continue to impact others as well! I can’t wait to work with the educators and families in New York!

  • Hey Cindy,
    I’ve known you since high school and I am glad to see you reaching for what you’ve been always wanting to achieve. I wish you the best of luck!

    • Thank you so much for your support Michelle! It’s been an exciting journey and I can’t wait to continue that journey in New York!

  • Cindy. You are a hard worker with great dedication. I believe in you and you have my total support in everything you do. You deserve that scholarship and so happy to have you as a friend!! Keep going!!!

  • You’re amazing! Excited for your future and how you will impact society in a tremendous and positive way!

  • I’m so proud of you! With everything you went through, I am so happy you’re finally pursuing your dreams in New York! I know you’ll make a huge impact in the education field! Best of luck!

  • Very touching and passionate article; what an inspiration!
    You are already a great teacher who will change the lives of so many kinds.
    You deserve this scholarship!

  • Great essay Cindy! We need more passionate educator like yourself. Work hard and I wish you the best of luck. Give her the scholarship already!

  • Great job, Cindy. A true inspiration and proven fact where positives can be derived from negatives. Keep pursuing your dreams and good luck.

  • Go Cindy! You truly have the heart to chase your dream. I look forward to seeing your accomplishment in the field of education.

  • I have known Cindy for almost 7 years and she is still as passionate and motivated towards education as she was when I first met her. The education system would greatly benefit from this individual if she were to continue her education with this scholarship. Please select her for your scholarship!

  • Im an Asian Australian based in Brisbane, i had the privilege of meeting young Cindy in Hong Kong a few years back. In a very short period of time her personality, attitude and awareness of others made me gravitate towards her and acted as the foundations of our friendship. Even long after our interactions and shared experiences from years ago, her positive impact on my perception still lingers. I sincerely do wish that this scholarship acts a catalyst for her to better shape the landscape of all the children she’ll one day motivate and inspire.

    In my humble opinion she’s a very deserving candidate and her potential for positive impact can and could not be encapulated just by words.

    Good luck Cindy and you do keep doing you!!!

  • I’ve known ya since working at the Y and I gotta say you are very deserving of this scholarship. Your work with kids is outstanding and you’ve changed the lives of many kids who grew up with little to nothing. I hope you continue your work and that you joining this program makes you a stronger person and educator.

  • Cindy, you are such an inspiration! The work you’ve done and continue to do is absolutely crucial. I can’t wait to see how far you’ll go and how many lives you’ll change for the better. I wish you the best of luck!

    • Thank you for your support Madonna! I’m ready to impact the education field in New York and spread smiles all around!

  • Inspiring story Cindy! Thank you for sharing it. Your drive and passion for education can only mean you’ll accomplish great things!

  • You can do it Cindy! That passion you have for education is admirable. I hope you go far because we need people like you to genuinely care and properly teach our children. Best of luck!

    • Thank you Cecile! I will do my best to learn and hopefully, be a positive and strong impact to the families in New York!

  • Cindy, you’re an inspiration to so many young children of what they can do they can do if they stay focused, out of trouble, and do well in school. Kids truly relate to you because you can talk to them as if you were them (you’ve been there). Your energy and spirit around kids is contagious and should motivate kids to do well; who knows, maybe they’ll follow in Ms. Chung’s footsteps and become an educator.

    • Thank you so much for your support James! I will be ecstatic if I inspire even one student to be a teacher when they grow up!

  • Cindy, i truly believe you deserve this scholarship. You are passionate, driven, and kind hearted and would make an excellent Educator. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Cindy!! I’ve been lucky enough to witness your passion and enthusiasm when you are working with children. You are truly amazing!! You totally deserve this scholarship! Best of luck!

  • Cindy has overcome so many hardships in her life with a smile, hard work and a huge streak of determination. As a teacher, I know that the hardest part of the job is dealing with behavioral issues. She is correct in thinking that this is the part of the job where she needs to focus. Many people assume if they have the content , the rest will fall in place. Cindy figured out right away that that is a myth. I sincerely hope that you will select Cindy for the scholarship. I can’t think of a more deserving person.

  • You’re an intelligent and great advocate for the youth work with and the community you serve! Imnso happy that you are responding to your calling and I can’t wait to see and be in awe of all the amazing things you will so!

  • Your hard work and dedication is such an inspiration. I’m excited to see the immediate and long term impact you will have for our future generation. You deserve this scholarship- your dedication, passion and perseverance is uncanny and I’d be proud to have had you as my teacher.

  • I first met Cindy in middle school when I was still a painfully shy individual. I was very unsure of the world and had no idea what path to pursue or even what options were available to me. When I saw that Cindy was always willing to take on any challenges she encountered however large or insignificant they were, I was inspired to make changes to my own approach on life. Small changes that seemed like meaningless steps progressively helped me move outside of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take on my own challenges head on. These tiny steps eventually became large strides that have helped me reach where I am today. I owe a portion of my success to our very first meeting 15 years ago; without Cindy I might still be cooped up in my shell.
    I sincerely hope she receives this scholarship so she can continue inspiring individuals like my past self.

  • The world needs more leaders in education, because what’s more important than education our future generations, and who better then you! Best of luck Cindy, with our without a scholarship.

  • It is awesome to see passionate and talented educators do their thing! Go Cindy! You have been a role model to me in our time working together as Program Managers.

    Best of Luck, you deserve it!

  • Knowing Cindy for 10+ years, she has always been passionate, driven, optimistic, and perseverant in anything she pursues. She has a tremendous amount of experience working with kids of various backgrounds and has been able to leave a big impact on their lives. She will go great lengths in improving our education system. She is truly an inspiration to how far she has come.

  • I’ve only known Cindy for a few years but one thing that stood out about her passion for education. I’m happy to see her reaching out to achieve her dreams not being afraid of the unknown. I know you will make it far!

    • Thank you Steven for your support! I’m excited for this new change and I can’t wait to see what good I can do!

  • Knowing Cindy since she was a little girl and witnessing the hardships she and her younger siblings endured, I am amazed that her outcome was not otherwise. Despite the odds against her, this young woman took a negative situation and turned it into a positive one. Speaking with her, you will quickly realize she does not live a life of regret or remorse, rather, she is filled with happiness. She is a genuine, humble, resourceful and strong. Her personality lights up any room she walks into and her laugher is contagious. I wish the best for Cindy and know that any goals she puts her mind to, she will reach and go beyond.

  • You are living proof that anyone, especially those growing up in a low income household with a single parent working multiple jobs, raising multiple children and barely having enough time to see them, can achieve great goals in life. When I encounter people that complain about how miserable and unfair their lives have been, I always tell them your story and it always inspires them. The world is in need of people like you.

    No one is more deserving of the Diversity Scholarship than you. Your whole life has nothing but a struggle, yet you have always been a perfect student, a good sister, a good friend and always made time from your busy life to help others.

  • I’m so glad to hear your resilience was strong and you were able to achieve greatness in your life. I too had been through a similar upbringing so I understand your background. I wish you the best in your future and look forward to you making a huge difference in societal progression!

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Cindy. The fact that you’ve overcome so much adversity and want to help other young people do the same is inspiring!

  • Cindy was always a positive force at the non profit organization that we worked for together.
    She will be missed, and getting her more education will improve the lives of many, not solely her own.

    Thank you!

  • I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this scholarship than Cindy Chung. She has lived her life championing the values of leadership and passion with remarkable tenacity. This fiery spirit is exactly what she will bring to childhood education.

  • You have always been so passionate about education! I know you are going to do amazing things. You are so deserving of this scholarship!

  • Your passion to make a difference for the education system and to come as far as you have done is admirable Cindy! I have no doubt in your ability that you will have a huge impact whatever you strive to achieve! The best of luck!

  • As long as I’ve known Cindy, she’s always had an unmatched passion to give back to the community as the best educator she can be. Good luck in your studies, I know you’ll achieve wonderful things!

  • The world needs more role models like you. I can’t wait to see the impact you will make on the future generation!

  • So i first met Cindy back in January of this year. After the first encounter I knew right off the bat how humble and driven she is. Everything she focuses she strives to excel at. She gets the most satisfaction with helping students and their futures. Not many people have such a passion as Cindy does with Childhood education, but with the help of this scholarship it will further help her drive and goals.

  • Cindy, I know you’ll make an amazing and impactful educator! You have the heart for this type of work. Best of luck!

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