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'biology course' - Mech Eng @ UPENN

asabti 1 / -  
Mar 30, 2009   #1
hello guys... i had one heck of a time putting this together let me know what you think... i'm trying to get across the point that i'm a unique candidate...

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"To be or not to be, that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep;"

Words uttered by Hamlet more than four hundred years ago still pronounce truth in my own life. Hamlet spoke of his indecisive struggles between suicide and seeking vengeance. My struggle comes in the crossroads that I faced towards the end of high school where I was challenged with a decision. I had a choice between the pursuit of knowledge in medicine and biology, or engineering.

I spent the very early years of my life living in Iraq during periods of war and struggle. I saw the ways in which engineering can contribute to the rebuilding of infrastructure and the improvement of quality of life following difficult times. As a result of my encounters during these early years, it was natural for me to incline towards engineering. I graduated from the University of Windsor with a Mechanical Engineering degree. The University of Windsor had a world-renowned automotive engineering concentration which I chose to take part in. Not only did the automotive concentration allow me to explore all aspects of a general mechanical engineering degree, but it also offered a comprehensive look at advanced dynamics, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics.

During my third year of university, I chose to enroll in a biology course that did not count towards my program electives or GPA, but provided me with a better understanding of the subject. The knowledge that I have gained throughout my four years in mechanical engineering has increased my interest in medicine and biology by opening up new doors of opportunity in the application of engineering into the medical and biological field.

With all that I have learned about engineering and all the experience that I have gained throughout my four years, there still exists a desire for knowledge and exploration within me. Alongside the desire for knowledge comes the exhilarating thought in the back of my mind for that other infatuation. With the ever growing integration of engineering and biology, the fork in the road that I once faced years ago seems to have merged into a road of endless opportunity and a life time of satisfaction; personally, academically, and professionally.

My research interests are in biomechanics and bioengineering, which focus mainly on the integration of engineering research and analysis in living organisms. I am intrigued by the investigation of new bioinstrumentation technology, especially in the areas of Lab on a chip and Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Other research interests lie in the Biomedical engineering field, particularly in the design and development of medical devices and orthopaedic bioengineering.

My excellent background in engineering, as well as diverse work exposure gave me a unique undergraduate experience. By working vehemently, I was able to be employed fulltime throughout my undergraduate career. While working full time might not have been the wisest choice academically, it was necessary to support my expenses. Despite the fact that working fulltime ultimately affected my grades; I was still able to achieve an excellent overall GPA, participate in research projects, and dedicate a great amount of time and energy to my capstone project. During my final year project, I was able to design an innovative and unconventional suspension for the SAE Baja project. My team placed 3rd out of 120 schools for suspension and traction and 8th place overall.

I am currently employed at Fenner Precision in Manheim, PA where I am an Applications and Lab engineer involved in the design and testing of precision power transmission applications. Although the job provides me with challenging and stimulating engineering work, my future career goals are in academics where I will be able to conduct research and educate young minds.

I fervently believe that I am an excellent candidate for the University of Pennsylvania's graduate program due to my hard work, ethics, experience and dedication. I have very strong problem solving, analytical and hands on experience in the engineering field. I see graduate school as a growth opportunity, where I can finally reach a degree of professional ability and gain the tools necessary to excel in the academic field as well as research.

The University of Pennsylvania's reputation as well as its outstanding engineering program is unmatched by any other university. I strongly believe that no other university can fulfill my academic needs and provide me with a superior education. I recently visited Dr. Arratia to learn more about his research and to speak to him about the prospects of conducting a master's degree under his supervision. It was a wonderful opportunity to take a tour of his lab and to take a closer look at some current and past research. Dr. Arratia's research interests, work ethic, and amount of dedication I observed were a perfect match for me. It would be of great privilege to have him as a mentor throughout my graduate studies.

After meeting with Dr. Arratia, he pointed me towards Blanche P. Levy Park where he suggested I take a walk. Walking through the beautiful campus, I could picture great men before me like Benjamin Franklin circulating literature with his grand vision of a public academy. I could also envision the signers of the declaration of independence arguing passionately over what constitutes "unalienable Rights". The road travelled by those before me on that same campus was not an easy one, and I am fully aware that a career in research and academics requires a high level of intelligence, dedication and keen interest. I am confident that I will be able to overcome all the above challenges and would be honored and privileged to join the University of Pennsylvania.

Mustafa1991 8 / 373 4  
Mar 30, 2009   #2
What does the beginning of your essay have to do with where you stand now?

When you throw strong words like suicide and vengeance into the mix, it throws a reader off. Further, how does your interpretation of that quote as a struggle, in any way enhance the message your trying to get across -- I'd say it doesn't. You say "they still ring truth today?"

But how so? Haven't you already resolved those struggles with your decision to go into the field of bioengineering etc.?

"As a result of my encounters during these early years, it was natural for me to incline towards engineering. I graduated from the University of Windsor with a Mechanical Engineering degree. The University of Windsor had a world-renowned automotive engineering concentration which I chose to take part in."

What encounters are you talking about? You seem to hint more at experiences, than any kind of encounter. I'd use "those" in place of "these." Accordingly, I would also revise the part following the comma to mediate an event way in the past. "I graduated from ...", sounds abrupt. It shows a kind of laziness that you are unwilling to couch that piece of information with at least a sentence or two of flowery language. "The University..." is painful to read.

Take a more active stance, and start off "During my time there..."

That's a start for now.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 30, 2009   #3
Yeah, ditch the Hamlet reference. Starting an application essay by chaining together the concepts of suicide, vengeance, living through the Iraq War, and getting an engineering degree is probably a bad idea. Also, you might want to focus more on what you hope to accomplish in the graduate program, rather than on what you have already accomplished, depending upon the prompt. Actually, now that I think about it, what is the prompt?

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