Letter of Introduction

Dayra Rivas

610 Underhill Ave. 

Bronx, New York, 10473

February 5, 2018                                                                                                                              

Elisabeth van Uhl        

City College of New York

Writing for Social Sciences 

Dear Ms. Van Uhl,

My name is Dayra Rivas. I am a freshman at the City College of New York, with an intended major of Political Science. Most of my experience with writing has been directly related to my educational career, because I have never for the most part strayed away and written for my own pleasure, during my free time. Also the idea of free writing that I have experienced this semester never occurred at my previous schools, which might have sparked a curiosity for writing independently. In high school, research papers were the most important pieces of composition we were enforced to perfect. I didn’t enjoy writing the research papers, as much as I enjoyed the actual process of gathering information that I would need to be able to compose said research paper. I found it fascinating to be able to analyze the various types of sources available on the databases for my specific topic. For example, one of my favorite research paper topics from high school was the qualities of Amanda Wingfield as a Mother, in the play, the Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams. It was very tedious to be able to find sources that proved my thesis, but it was such a unique process to be able to analyze and infer the point of view of the authors. I believe that even though my writing hasn’t been geared toward a specific social science, I have deepened my skills of observation, especially through my exposure of diverse literature. 

Last Semester in my FIQWS course, which was centered around gentrification, I believe I was best immersed into the character of a social scientist. My research paper topic was “How Harlem’s History had Sparked Its current influx in Gentrification.” I believe that I picked this topic because I was interested in seeing the history of Harlem before it was what we see today, which is a community that is becoming attractive to the upper class and the diminishment of it’s culture. It would be fair that I was acting as a social scientist during the period in which I was gathering my research and experiencing for myself Harlem’s community. Reading upon how Harlem was originally an area of slums that African Americans took as their own, with limited opportunities of progression, and connecting it to how they are now stuck in a position where they have almost no choice but to move out because they can not afford rent was eye opening. I realized that we are constantly in a state where minority groups are being oppressed, and left to figure out what to do on their own, without many options for a better life. 

It can be said that my “privilege” is simply being a citizen of the United States, and having access to education. I am for the rights of immigrants especially because in many third world countries, the people that wish to leave it are poor/without many resources and have no greater access to education/job opportunities which would allow them to create a better future for themselves. I think part of being a social scientist, personally, is understanding why immigrants make the choices they make such as crossing borders even knowing that they are putting themselves in the face of danger, but also it is about hearing the comments of individuals that oppose immigration, even if you do not agree in a respectful manner. Although I am a minority being a citizen has its perks, such as being able to apply for financial aid which allows me for monetary resources, which an illegal immigrant can not do which is why I support DACA, which allows students to work legally, because monetary resources aren’t as available to them especially for schooling. 

I have always had an interest in political science, which is why I intend it to be my major, but I am especially interested in the subfield of immigration. Immigration is a topic that I constantly keep up with because I have family members that are undocumented and I have personally seen the struggle it can be to live a daily life in the United States, but at the same time they are fortunate because conditions in our country of origin, Honduras, are worse. I read many articles in relation to the temporary protective status of Honduras, which was granted to them after Hurricane Mitch, a category 5 storm that hit Central America. I think the topic of immigration has been my closest relation to being a social scientist because it has forced me to hear contrary opinions on the matter, which has helped remove ignorance due to my  because it is a controversial topic to a certain extent. Although it is not a topic that I write about, I do attempt to bring awareness to the matter through Social Media, such as Twitter, even in small acts such as retweeting posts that urge people to weigh the effects of the removal of the TPS and policies such as it.

Seeing as how many of my family members and peers are immigrants I am biased towards helping them obtain an easier life. As a social scientist I would be able to keep up to date on policies that would affect them, by watching the news, writing to politicians, and protesting for additional rights for them. My citizenship and my observation of the struggles faced by immigrants have swayed me to want to pursue a deeper knowledge of why people act how they do and what the motiving force is behind their choices. I think for this course I am afraid to find information or encounter individuals whose opinions are contrary to what I have believed most of my life. I believe that the possibility of disappointment is scary because sometimes we have opinions based just on our judgement and the opinions others feed to us. I want to stray away from my opinions and have an open mind to formulate my own ideas about various topics. This semester I am excited for the free writing portion of the class because, since I went to Catholic school most of my life, teachers weren’t always openminded or willing to hear opinions outside of their own, and if we attempted to speak our mind we were shut down. I believe this writing course will over me the option of being able to speak my mind, correct my ignorance, and share my personal experiences.

Sincerely yours,

Dayra Rivas 


Box 1

New Yorker 

  • Baconeggandcheese is one word when it’s being ordered in a deli 
  • The MTA isn’t the best transportation system, never really reliable, but its good to get you from Point A to Point B. Also everyone just minds their business on the subway
  • A chopped cheese is the best lunch option in terms of sandwiches


  • Seafood is the basis of almost every meal, along with beans and cheese 
  • There is certain indirect segregation between the Garifunas and the fair skinned Hondurans, mostly linked to culture and being among your own, nonetheless they get along for the most part
  • Spanish is the main language


  • Live in Central America in four countries: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua
  • Practice the spirits of the ancestors, rituals involving dancing (punta), drumming, and contacting the spirits of the dead 
  • Speak an Arawakan language spoken by about 200,000 people mainly in Honduras, and also in Belize, Guatamala and Nicaragua. It was originally spoken on the island of St. Vincent in the Antilies.

Being a New Yorker, has made me appreciate my upbringing so much more. Having so much exposure to the city and all that comes with it such as the Whitney Museum which I go to until this day, Bryant Park, Central Park, The Highline, etc., has made my life that much more memorable. Even holidays in the city feel that much more special, especially with the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and the window displays from Macy’s, Santaland in Macy’s, the Rockettes . Manhattan isn’t the only aspect of New York I like, I also enjoy the culture that is formed within the boroughs, such as a chopped cheese or a bacon, egg, and cheese. I have witnessed so much diversity, and people that for the most part that are accepting of one another. I think this is backed by the fact that most New Yorkers really just mind their one business unless someone is in danger or is being discriminated. New York culture is amazing and something I would never trade for anything in the world. I could not imagine myself growing up in the suburbs where there would never be much to do. New York really is the city that never sleeps, there is so much activity. Because there is so much diversity in New York the access to foods is so vast, one of my favorites is Jamaican food in the uptown part of the Bronx, and bubble tea from Chinatown. Being a New Yorker is one of the aspects of my life I am most proud of. There is always an opportunity to be emerged in a culture that is different from yours.