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What to write about for a diversity statement?

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I realized when I was putting my spreadsheet of application requirements that I need to write two diversity statements for applications. I don't particularly think I have anything diverse in my background: I'm a European mutt, middle class, Jewish, female, studying history. My research interests focus on the history of female immigrants, especially from the Mediterranean (I'm particularly interested in Italian, Greek, and Jewish immigrants). 

I think that I could write about two things: 

  • The immigration in my family are all relatively recent (I'm third generation Italian-American, third generation Russian American, third generation Czech-Jewish American, and third generation Greek American). Everyone came over in the past century, which is the century that I'm interested in. Growing up, I was always close with the female immigrants in my family and was always fascinated with the stories that they told about coming to the U.S. and their experiences here. 
  • Education is emphasized in my family because my parents were young when they had me (19 and 20). My parents didn't get their Masters degrees until I was in high school, and I was the first person to go to school out of state and only one of two to go straight after high school. My parents wanted to make sure that I had a better life than they did, and so they really pushed education and fostered a passion.

Or I could combine the two. What do you think?

ETA: I could also expand on something I planned to include in my SOP. I was close to my bisnonna and had Italian-American experience, and then spent a year studying abroad in italy, which challenges my thoughts about italianness. 

Edited by historygeek
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Focus on how your unique experiences inform your research, i.e. your first point more so than your second point. I think it's an excellent idea for you to talk about your closeness with the female immigrants in your family, and it seems - based on your research interests - that this has definitely influenced your studies. These women made you want to go down this path and want to learn more! That's a good foundation for a great diversity statement, in my opinion. 

The second point (education) doesn't stand out to me. Several diversity statements I've read say something very similar to that, except those are typically from first gen students. It's difficult to say that you want to get a graduate degree to live a better life than your parents, who also hold graduate degrees. I'm sure it's true, since you're mentioning it, but it's not a unique story. Many people have families that stress the importance of education. As this doesn't relate to your research interests, and it's something that several diversity statements in the same application pool will probably say, my two cents is to skip it.

Best of luck in your applications, and good on you for starting early!

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I agree with @megabee.

They way you worded your background doesn't add up to what AdComms look for in diversity statements. 

10 hours ago, megabee said:

Focus on how your unique experiences inform your research.

How has your background informed your research questions? How can your background add to a different understanding of your research questions? How can your research contribute with the diversification of the field? Why having you in X program will make the department more diverse? What do you bring to the table?

Good luck!

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