For the final part of our series on female role models during Women’s History Month, we caught up with Kelsey, who serves as the director of email marketing for The Strengths Journal. Kelsey, like the other women we’ve interviewed in this series, easily named her mom, Mary, as her biggest inspiration. Mary, a Chinese immigrant, serves as a great example of fearlessness and perseverance. To hear more about Kelsey and her inspiring mom, read her story below.
“My female role model is my mom, Mary! I know that picking my mom may seem like the easy choice, but I am inspired by her courage daily. From growing up in a period of political unrest to immigrating to America as a young woman, my mom has persevered through many obstacles in her life.
Early life in China
My Mom grew up in a working-class family during the Cultural Revolution in China, where formal education was interrupted for nearly 12 years. During her childhood, she learned English by reading books and watching tapes. Though English books and exam materials were hard to come by, my grandmother was a well-known OBGYN in Beijing, so many of her patients lent study materials and books for my mom to use. After access to college through entrance exams was restored, my mother studied 12 hours a day for months on end to prepare for her exams. At the time, college acceptance rates were less than 5%, but she received a score high enough to get into one of the few available universities in the country.
Moving to America
After receiving her degree in China, she moved to Denton, Texas to attend the University of North Texas with less than $1000 in her pocket- enough for a few months’ rent and some expenses. Her only sense of familiarity in Texas was a friend who was already studying at UNT; however, she never let fear stop her from accomplishing her goals. At UNT, my mom received her Master’s degree in Linguistics because she loved the English language and desired to excel at it at a higher level. While she worked on her degree, she supported herself by working as a teaching fellow at the university, where she helped professors with their research.
Because of the political repression that many Chinese People faced during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 provided Chinese students the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Shortly after obtaining her permanent residency, my mom met my dad, and the rest is history…
Her Life Now
My mom continues to inspire me as she selflessly prioritizes our family’s needs over her own. She has always sacrificed her own daily comforts in an effort to save money for my family. I’m always in awe of how different my life looks from hers because of the hard work she put in to give me a better life. I look up to my mom because she has undeniable grit and perseverance, despite the odds stacked against her.”
We are so happy we had the opportunity to hear from Kelsey about her incredible mom and the many ways she persevered. If you have been following along with our Women’s History Month series, we hope you have been inspired by the strong women whose stories we have shared. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out the other posts, click here to do so.
Though Women’s History Month is coming to an end, we hope you continue to celebrate the women in your life! We’d love to hear their stories, so leave us a comment or send us an email at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!