Supporting Rural Education From Berkeley to China

by Cary Lin, ATDP alum and former TA (writing from Guiyang, China)

Cary in Turpan, Xinjiang (2010).

Every day I wake up to the sight of rice paddies in mountainous and landlocked Guizhou Province, China, and it seems that I really could not be further away from the breezy hills of the Bay Area. As a 2010-2011 Fulbright grantee based in rural China, I am presently studying the impact of preferential treatment education policies on ethnic minority women here in Guizhou. I am interested in figuring out whether and how low family income may persist in barring minority women who live in rural villages from opportunities to seek higher education, despite great strides in state policy to increase national college admissions rates. Throughout the course of my research so far, I have traveled to places as diverse as Xinjiang and Beijing.

Cary at ATDP's 2006 SD orientation.

There is no doubt that my interest in rural education has been strongly influenced by my six summers at 3639 Tolman Hall. I was first an ATDP student in 2000 and also became a teaching assistant for The Internet Classroom from 2003-2006. As a proud ATDP alum, I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn both as a student and as a teacher among smart peers.

Despite the geographical differences between Guiyang and Berkeley, the notion that a good education provides a gateway to greater opportunities is one shared by Americans and Chinese alike. In recognizing my debt to the educational programs such as ATDP that have helped me seek opportunities for growth, I plan to continue devoting my year towards research that aims to expand opportunities for those in the countryside that may be left behind in the exhaust of China’s roaring economic engine.

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