October 23, 2018
Political science, economics, business, psychology — for Peter Zheng, these are 4 keys to 1 pressing issue.
He graduated with a quadruple-major (including a BPhil, the highest undergraduate academic honor, in psychology), hoping to better understand and address the complexities of educational inequality:
- Political science helps him understand the bureaucratic barriers to education equality, like uneven federal funding.
- Economics, because socioeconomic status can limit children’s access to resources and opportunities, which continues a cycle of poverty.
- Business, he believes, will can play an integral role in future public private partnerships to efficiently resolve macro level issues surrounding education. leveling the playing field.
- Psychology can help us understand the human side of the issue. For example: Do parents with strong beliefs about education do more teaching with their children at home?
Now, Peter is in graduate school at Columbia University in NYC for yet another subject: public administration. He’s also interested in integrating a technology element.
That’s 6 areas of expertise he’s racked up, for anyone counting.
Peter’s drive to understand educational inequality stems from his own experiences as a first-generation, low-income college student and first-generation American. His parents do not speak English, so he had to guide himself through the education system.
“It tremendously affected my life, and it’s hard to communicate the ramifications of that,” he said. “All my achievements are possible because of the sacrifices my parents came here and made. They wanted me to have a better life, and to have more opportunities than the ones they had back in the farmlands of China.”
“I want to be a role model for anybody who thinks the system is against them. It IS against them. But you can overcome it.”