Professional Bio

The Dip Theory builds on the narrative of the classic hero’s journey by exploring the natural “dips” or downturns in one’s life and how one can grow from those experiences. With her Dip Theory, Lisa Nichols (see earlier module) provides a powerful model for writing a professional bio. To keep the audience’s attention, she crafts a concise, vivid, and powerful bio to address the three questions listed below:

Where are you? Here the storyteller shows (not tells) the audience what he or she wants or does.

I have experience in
I have a mastery in

Where have you been? Here the storyteller must be brave enough to expose one of his or her most significant challenges, fears, or vulnerable moments. The most important part of the bio is “The Dip.” The storyteller connects to the reader through the shared human experience of struggle.  Use vivid, concrete language that appeals to the senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing) that will make the hair on the back of your reader’s neck stand up. However, keep your audience in mind. Be sure to choose a “low” that you are willing to share publicly. 

My greatest struggle was
I learned to overcome
At first, I struggled with…

Where are you going? Here is where you sell yourself or–like Anansi–catch the Elephant, Python, and Lion in your storytelling Spider Web.

The experience taught me
Overcoming these challenges has increased my
I plan to build upon these lessons by

For the final assignment of this unit, you’ll write a 300-500 word Professional Bio that incorporates the Dip Theory.  Remember, the bio must be written for a professional audience.  Imagine writing this as a personal statement for college admission, an internship, or your dream job.  Use the three questions listed above to construct each paragraph of your First Draft Professional Bio.

some examples 
For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist)ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public healthdepartment. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexualpartners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuadepeople to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices,document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due tothe large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at theforefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understandinghow the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a hugeinspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on myradar.Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adoptedmy little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred withDuchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Freds condition hadbeen discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied himsustenance to hasten his demise.It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatmentwhile others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciencesat Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on sociohealth inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinaryapproach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approachesare the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career.Understanding the underlying structure of a groups culture is essential to successfullycommunicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, Ive learned how toparse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used tobuild bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses arebelieved to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of centralAfrica, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity takeinto account their very real belief in witchcraft.I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of healthbenefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitativeanalytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side ofhealthcare, a critical component of public health.I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factorsaffect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a Sample Graduate School Personal Statement Threecertificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with otherexperts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to helptransform health landscapes both in America and abroad.

My educational background had an extremely strong impact on my developmentand interests, and consequently influenced my decision to pursue graduate studies inComposition at the University of XXX. I was fortunate enough to grow up in acommunity where there was an abundance of educational opportunities. The publicschool system in my town is known for is academic rigor, and I took full advantage ofthis as a student, taking as many advanced courses and electives as I was allowed. Themore that I learned, the more determined I was to continue learning, through collegeand beyond. At YYY College, I eagerly seized the chance to take classes in as manydifferent areas as possible. While I flourished in the liberal arts environment, however, Ifound myself slowly drawn into the Music Department, unable to resist the combinationof interesting classes and talented professors. I had begun to compose before enteringcollege, but it was only through my studies at YYY that I realized how strong mypassion for music truly was.My family and the musical environment fostered therein also had an enormousimpact on my development. Of the extended family I knew, many were talentedmusicians; the most dedicated of these was my cousin Marcus, whose conversion fromCatholicism to Judaism was primarily motivated by his desire to become a cantor. Inaddition to being surrounded by living musical relatives, I grew up knowing that musichad been central to my family from their first arrival in America. My great-great-uncleGiacomo Ferrari was born in 1912 in Neverland, NY, the youngest of four sons. Hisparents had emigrated from Italy with his two eldest brothers in the early 1900s insearch of a better life in America. Their struggles as immigrants are in themselvesinspiring, but the challenges they faced are undoubtedly similar to those that manyother immigrant families had to overcome; because of this, the actions that my relativesembarked upon are that much more extraordinary. Giacomos oldest brother Antonio,my great-grandfather, decided to take a correspondence course in violin, and to teachhis youngest brother Giacomo how to play as well. Giacomo Ferrari eventually becamean accomplished violinist and started a free Lunchtime Strings program for all theelementary schools in the Neverland area, giving free violin lessons and monthlyconcerts. As a native English speaker who has had the privilege of studying viola andviolin with trained, private teachers, I can only imagine the perseverance it took for mygreat-grandfather and great-great uncle to learn an instrument like the violin out ofbooklets and lessons that were not even written in their native language. Their passionand dedication to learning something new, something not part of their lives as bluecollar, immigrant workers, and their desire to share it with others, has inspired me as amusician and a person. It is this spirit that has motivated me to pursue an MA atComposition at the University of XXX.

Japanese has never come easily to me. Honestly, its a brutal language to learn.But despite the countless challenges Ive faced, Ive devoted more than half of my lifeto learning it. Sure, Ive experienced the occasional outburst; Ive sobbed because Icouldnt understand a Japanese sentence, no matter how hard I tried to dissect it. Ivealso cursed. A lot. The journey to fluency is tough. But I cant imagine a life withoutJapaneseand I dont think Id ever want to.I took my first Japanese class when I was twelve. Initially, my interest in thelanguage was superficial; I loved anime and manga and thought Spanish was boring.Over time, however, I developed a far deeper connection to Japanese culture. Butdespite my growing passion for Japan, my career goals remained convoluted. I knew Iwanted to write and translate, but what exactly? On top of that, I was still a somewhattaciturn conversationalist. And as for kanji, well, lets just say kanji and I have a rockyrelationship.After studying Japanese for five years in junior high and high school, I enteredcollege and declared a double major in English and East Asian languages and cultures. Ireceived As in my Japanese classes, but I couldnt shake the feeling I was an impostor.After all, I wasnt really good at Japanese; I was just good at doing homework. It was afeeling Id harbored for years.And then things changed.My junior year I studied abroad in Osaka for a semester, where I spokeexclusively in Japanese with a wonderfully supportive host family. I also discovered mypassion for Japanese literature. Suddenly, life was making sense.A year later, I received my bachelors degree and left for Japan again, this timeas an English teacher on the JET Program. Sitting alone in an old tatami room, in atown where virtually nobody spoke English, I started to visualize a future for me: I wasgoing to improve my Japanese and steadily forge a path toward professionaltranslation. In the two years I lived in Kyushu, I devoted myself to the language andculture around me. Occasionally, I attempted a Japanese novel but became frustratedby the deluge of unfamiliar kanji. Still, I kept going. I took the JLPT N2 twicefailingfirst by two points and then by one pointbefore finally passing it six months later. Aweek ago I braved N1.Heres the thing: I am not a prodigy, nor am I particularly gifted at Japanese. Asmuch as I love the language, there will always be a kanji Ill struggle to recall, a word Icant pronounce (hint: it starts with and ends with ). What I am, however, ispassionate, creative, and ambitious. Im a lover of stories and languages. Japanese isthe path I want to take, the career I strive for, the language I speakand the life, nomatter how challenging, I intend to live.