Academic Cap

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My mother received this academic cap from completing her PhD in economics in the U.S. My father has a similar one from completing his MBA in the U.S. My parents came to the U.S. from China in the 1980s to advance their studies and secure professional careers.  Although both of them grew up in academic households in China, because of their political and historical context, they could not attend high school. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Chairman Mao Zedong created policies and programs to resist the influence of capitalist ideology from the West, and move China toward socialism. One of these programs was the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, which sent youth away from school and to rural farms and factories to learn from farmers and workers. It was not until 1977, after China opened up the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, that my parents were able study the high school material they missed, attend college in China, and later immigrate to the U.S.  The end of the Cultural Revolution and reopening of the Chinese college examination allowed my parents to return to their studies. The relative political stability, educational opportunities, and government-sponsored scholarships in the U.S. between the 1960s-1980s allowed them to immigrate to the U.S. If it were not for these factors, their lives, and thus my own educational and occupational trajectories would be drastically different.

Place(s): China
Year: 1984

– Virginia Zhang

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant