Dr. JZ “Joe” Zhou’s Personal Statement for SFFA Board
As the first generation Asian immigrant to the United States, my U.S. born child has experienced unfair treatment by Harvard University. With perfect testing scores in ACT (36) and SAT II Math (800) and SAT II History (800), an Intel STS national semi-finalist award and several state level medals, my child was very active in community services and student leadership activities. He was a student writer and an invited speaker to the Senate Education Committee, the State Board of Education on Common Core Standard and he worked for the city youth camp as an assistant tennis coach during the last two years in the high school. However, he was denied the admission by Harvard and three other Ivy universities despite his leadership, community service, employment and a his academic achievement.
In addition to personal level experience, I also researched the doctrines of current discrimination against Asian applicants to Ivy colleges. With a B.S. in Physics, a master degree in finance, and a doctoral degree in education, I personally developed several theories on Asian Americans leadership achievement gap based on the qualified pools. Most affirmative action plans used the national or state demographic data as a convenient pool to measure achievement, in which cases Asians are often been discriminated. But admission to a highly selective colleges, such as Harvard, the admission qualified pool should be based on the applicants pool, or based on students who achieved the top 1-2% in their high school rankings or reached the top 1-2% in the standard testing result, not the national demographic data. In another words, if 40% of applicants to Harvard are Asian Americans despite only 6% of U.S. population are Asians, and only less than 20% of Harvard freshmen are Asian Americans consistently, I believe there has been a practice of discrimination based on race or national origin.
Last but not least, I still believe diversity and pluralism in highly selective college and at all levels of leadership positions. The diversity can be achieved by income level or other social economic status, such as first generation college applicants. Using race to achieve diversity artificially hurts Asian American immigrants. Many policy makers are aware of the case by now, but unwilling to change the status quo in order to protect the beneficiaries under the existing system. Asians have a large achievement gap in leadership positions based on qualified pools. Consider people with a doctoral degree as the qualified pool for university tenure track faculty and university presidents, over 20% doctoral degree holders are Asians but only less than 2% university presidents are Asians. The same thing applies to attorney vs. judges, medical doctors vs. medical executives, NIH research scientists vs. NIH lab directors, or even professionals vs. managers in all level of government agencies.
It is a time to make some changes for Asian Americans to be treated fairly. It is my strong believe that our hard work and our children’s hard work should be recognized and awarded fairly.