Pomona Essay

(b) Pomona College defines diversity in broad terms including academic interests, ethnic background, educational opportunities, political views, socioeconomic environment, and personal pursuits among others. Reflect upon ways which you expect Pomona’s diverse student body will affect your experiences inside and outside of the classroom.

To the untrained eye, it appears that I come from a middle-class white family of moderate political views. My hometown of Newport, Oregon may seem like the most uncultured place on earth with about as much diversity as the local Elks club.
Looking deeper one can see that I come from a family whose annual income fluctuates as much as 400% in either direction depending on how the fishing season goes. My father is a Jewish Commercial fisherman, who was raised in Los Angeles, and my mother a hardworking Catholic divorce lawyer who grew up in New York. Needless to say, I have been raised in an unconventional household. Both parents have divergent and independent political ideas, often conflicting with each other and sparking debate.

While Newport is not a diverse place by international standards, it is diverse as far as Oregon goes. We have more exchange students per capita than almost any school in Oregon. Newport has also attracted a large Hispanic population, seeking employment in the fish processing industry.

In addition to being exposed to other cultures at home, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel for several weeks at the age of 13. Last summer I went to Venezuela for two weeks. Part of the time in Venezuela I spent in a homestay with a family in Merida. During my youth I’ve traveled to New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. All of these experiences have helped me to see people and cultures in a more worldly manner.

This environment has made me an open-minded individual. I try to objectively observe situations, ideas, and people and make a judgment based principally on merit. While I have done well given my situation, I have much work to do. I still subconsciously believe certain stereotypes and prejudices some of which I have yet to see.

Pomona’s diverse student body will significantly increase my exposure to other cultures and races. From my review of the student body composition, I will have greater opportunity to interact with Asians, Hispanics and African Americans than I have previously experienced. I will be exposed to ideas I might otherwise never see. Instead of physically traveling to other cultures, I will be living in the dormitories and sharing meals with representatives of many areas of the world and country.
Inside of the classroom I will be exposed to new ideas not expressed in my high school. People with different backgrounds add unique experiences and perspectives to classroom discussions and activities. In practical matters such as Physics or Chemistry lab, a diverse student body will provide different ways to look at, approach and solve problems. Working with a broader range of students will help to educated me both academically and socially.