Tenzin Dhakong, JSI 2018
Hometown: Columbia Heights, Minnesota
College and major: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities; political science and minor in comparative U.S. race and ethnicity
What attracted you to the Junior Summer Institute?
Graduate school was always a dream of mine but I grew up feeling like these spaces were inaccessible to me. When I was younger, I felt like I couldn’t control the circumstances around me. However, as I grew older and understood the impacts of public policy, I realized that I had the power to own those spaces and felt that graduate school was one way in which I could gain the tools I need to more effectively gather support and advocate for the communities and issues I care about. Moreover, the determination and strength of character my mom instilled in me propelled me to find ways in which I could take ownership of my strength and individuality. Therefore, when I learned about the PPIA JSI program and its commitment to diversity, I was compelled to apply. Through JSI, I believed that I could gain a greater understanding of the graduate school process while also joining with like-minded peers who are passionate about the same issues I am.
What surprised you most during the program?
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed statistics. I have never been one that has excelled in anything STEM related but our instructor was amazing and made statistics something I looked forward to every week.
The best part of the JSI?
I really loved our policy research course with Professor Myers. We had different speakers each week who provided real-life experiences in the policy topics we were learning. It was amazing to hear from such a diverse range of perspectives.
Did the program change your mind about what you want to do after you graduate from college? What do you want to do after graduation?
I feel that the program solidified my desire to go to graduate school. While I do plan to work for at least one year after undergrad, I know the graduate school is in my future and through the support of Humphrey and PPIA I know it is achievable.