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"a challenging scientific environment" - Entrance into PhD for biomedical engineering

aquellita 1 / -  
Dec 1, 2010   #1
Please provide feedback on my essay. Your help is much appreciated.

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

The quote above strongly reflects the motivation behind my decision to resume the pursuit of the post graduate degree in biomedical sciences I set out to accomplish at the beginning of my academic career. Despite having been led in a different direction, my interest in biomedical sciences has never changed.

As a young girl, growing up in Mexico, I realized early on that I possessed a natural inclination towards math and science. I credit the discovery of my passion for science to my father, as he regularly encouraged me to read a nationally circulated magazine he subscribed to called Muy Interesante. The magazine featured all the latest news in then current science; it opened new worlds for me and fueled my curiosity and awe. I remember being especially fascinated by topics such as gene therapy and the cloning of Dolly. This childhood passion reflected itself in my performance in high school here in the U.S., as I excelled remarkably in math and science. It only made sense for me to continue following my passion, and in college, at X, I majored in Biology with an emphasis on molecular and cell biology. When my part time jobs as Teaching assistant or GED tutor would allow, I volunteered regularly in a laboratory that used Drosophila to study neurobiological actions of inhaled organic solvents. My first summer internship was after my sophomore year at the University of Y center where my project was on enzyme kinetics of poly ADP-ribose polymerase. My second summer internship was after my junior year the Johns Hopkins Medical School where I worked in the biological chemistry department studying the kinetics of ATP synthase.

After college, I moved to Dallas, TX, where I married and had baby. I found work as a research technician at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the Department of Molecular Biology. The research focus in the laboratory was to understand the gene expression of the developing mammalian heart using mouse embryos as models. During this time I learned various techniques in molecular biology such as PCR, electrophoresis, in situ hybridization, and cloning, among others. My stay at UT Southwestern was a brief two years when I decided to return to school to pursue an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at UT Arlington. Though I had a strong background in Biology, I lacked experience in engineering and was given an adjusted curriculum requiring I take courses in heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and other engineering disciplines. Through these courses I gained a new perspective on how engineering principles can apply to biological research. My non-thesis project was under the mentorship of Dr. where I studied the intake of hydrogel particle, in this case nano and micro spheres, in three different cell types. Upon completion of my degree, and a divorce, my first job was as a validation engineer for X company, a small start-up company whose product was a drug delivery matrix derived from Aloe Vera. After two years, I was laid off and moved to New Jersey where I found a validation engineer job at biotech Corporation, a company specializing in the manufacture of tissue repair products derived from human and porcine dermal tissue.

Being a validation engineer has been an eye opening experience. I have performed numerous validation projects for laboratory and manufacturing equipment as well as leading process validation projects for new and existing products. I have had to manage multiple projects at once under very aggressive deadlines, interact with other departments such as development, R&D, quality and manufacturing, coordinate resources to accommodate testing so as to not disturb routine production, and adapt to ever changing company priorities. Having attention to detail and good writing skills are imperative in compiling a validation project package which are often the subject of audits by regulatory bodies such as FDA. I have found my career in validation to be rewarding despite the difficulties regularly encountered, as they have taught me to work through frustration in order to complete the task at hand. I have learned that resilience, persistence, resourcefulness, adaptability, and accountability are essential in this field. However, validation was never intended to be a life-time career choice for me.

Your University's Biomedical Engineering Program would be a good place for me to resume my career in academic research not only because of the high caliber of research, its outstanding faculty and diversity of its student body, but also because I can apply the knowledge gained through my education, research and industry experience in the tissue engineering track. I look forward to working in a challenging scientific environment, and at the same time contribute to the your University academic community.

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