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In History, a Path to Self Discovery

My experience as an undergraduate history student at the University of Oregon helped me embrace various aspects of my identity. I am a queer woman of color from a low-income background and the first in my family to attend college. Although I used to be ashamed of certain aspects of my identity, studying history enabled me to put my identity into context at the national and international level and find self-acceptance. By the end of my sophomore year, I began to embrace my sexuality, class, and redefined womanhood more publicly. Despite these victories, I still struggled with my ethnic identity as a Pilipina-American. I am half Pilipina and half European American, and, until 3 years ago, I had detached myself from my Philippine heritage. My mother, who was born and raised in the Philippines, did not represent the stereotypical attentive mother, and my parents’ marriage did not reflect the stereotypical American family. In order to avoid being excluded from or singled out by my (majority Caucasian) community, I distanced myself from my mother and my Pilipino family. The Department of History at the University of Oregon has prepared me to ask critical questions and look into the past for answers, where I discovered my parent’s marriage was arranged. Since that realization, I have dedicated myself to research and have participated in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. I intend to become a professor of history in order to share the stories of Pilipinas and Pilipina- Americans so people like me can feel self-acceptance and learn to love their culture from a young age. I am happy to say that I will be taking another step towards that goal by entering a Ph.D history program in the fall of 2016.