Changing the World. One Scholarship at a Time.

Jessi Zhou HeadshotAlpha Delta Pi Foundation scholarship recipient, Jessi Zhou – Beta Upsilon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shares her inspiration, drive, and personal experience being a first-generation American and college student.

When I was younger, I was embarrassed, isolated, and limited. Compared to my friends, I felt as if I was cheated out of my childhood. With maturity comes guilt for my inability to understand and appreciate the sacrifices my parents made for me. It took time to understand how much I took for granted and how gracious I should have been. Prior to my birth my parents moved 7,650 miles from Shanghai, China to North Carolina.

IMG_5138They left behind family, friends, and secure jobs to provide me with opportunities for a better education and a brighter future. They stepped into a new world with little knowledge of what was in store. I learned independence due to my parent’s inability to speak English, long work hours, and adherence to Chinese cultural norms. Having to be a “parent figure” to them from a young age due to their insufficient knowledge of their environment, I never gave up. My parents formed my ambitious and independent nature allowing me to attend my dream school, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With age, I became inspired by their sacrifice as I now have goals to become the initial successful first-generation student in the family.

I know both the benefit and the pain that comes from two distinct cultures co-existing in one home. My understanding of multicultural existence is an advantage as my interactions with people of different cultures tend to be more natural and empathetic. Struggles faced by my parents as immigrant business owners have swayed them to discourage my dreams – while I understand their harsh point of view on minorities in business, I won’t be deterred.

As a future business leader, I hope to empower people from all walks of life to tap into their innate potential and to champion cultural differences. I believe the experiential, global immersive experience that I will gain through the UNC Kenan Flagler Undergraduate Business Program will empower me to be a groundbreaking force in the business profession. I strive to work not only to achieve my best but also to lead others to greater achievement and efficiencies. I have the undying passion and experience to create positive change now. But, I recognize effective learning is circuitous and I have much to learn.

I want to lead people to become world-changers and demonstrate the unlimited possibilities in standing up for what you believe in. My experiences, skills and interests provide significant reasoning behind my long-term career goal. This global program will be a crucial stepping stone in helping me further advance in my career path. My efforts are simple yet daunting – paving, strengthening, and defining my path of service to all. Thank you for making a difference in my life.

The Alpha Delta Pi Foundation is proud to provide more than $100,000 annually as part of our scholarship program to provide women like Jessi with an opportunity to reach their educational dreams. Scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are open and available HERE. Applications are due March 1, 2018.

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Jessi with her Beta Upsilon sisters
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