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"civil engineering practice" personal statement PhD in Structural Engineering

alex_4444 1 / -  
Jul 28, 2011   #1
I just finished writing the first Draft of my Personal Statement. I do greatly appreciate if you could give me your opinion, any suggestions, ideas or changes I need to make to improve it.

Personal Statement:

In the summer of 2004, I graduated from high school in Lebanon with a baccalaureate in mathematics. In the following years, while studying engineering at the undergraduate level in both Lebanon and the United States, I experienced a discrepancy in the engineering practice in my country compared to that of developed countries, particularly the United States. Lack of scientific approach and methodologies, shortage of experienced engineers, poor infrastructure, and the generally poor state of the Lebanese economy combined to create a great disparity in the engineering practice between my country and the United States. Furthermore, the destructive wars in Lebanon over the past 35 years have exacerbated the aforementioned conditions. Based on the above facts, I feel that joining your reputable PhD program will help me to become a better engineer and, as a result, help to reduce the disparity in quality of engineering between my native country, Lebanon, and my adopted country, the United States.

My early interest in civil engineering goes back to my summer vacation before joining the school of engineering in Lebanon. That summer, I worked as a mason for a residential contractor which inspired me to pursue a career in civil engineering. My genuine devotion to the cause of science and my excellence in physics and mathematics persuaded me to work hard and earn acceptance to the XXXX renowned as one of the best universities in Lebanon. During my school years in Lebanon, I had the chance to attend few seminars that were mainly concerned with the history of earthquakes in Lebanon and whether our modern infrastructure could withstand the intensity of these quakes. These seminars guided and instigated me to explore my area of interest and focus my endeavors on important subjects that will most meet the needs of the Lebanese infrastructure. However, lack of research in the field of civil engineering combined with the fact that the Lebanese government never implemented major initiatives to improve the infrastructure, prevented theory from being translated into practice. I was subsequently convinced that the search for knowledge embodies reciprocal benefits to the Lebanese society and that engineering research will certainly provide a highly stabilized, safe, and reliable environment.

When war broke out in Lebanon in 2006, I was forced to leave the country with my family and settle in the United States. In order to continue my education while also supporting my family, I had to work as a full time clerk at a gas station. My persevering nature helped me to surmount many obstacles and be actively enrolled in XXXX University by the spring of 2007. More importantly, and knowing that my curricular language in Lebanon was not Anglophonic, I was able to overcome any language limitation and grow in communicative skills tremendously in the United States. During my years at XXXX University, I had a better opportunity to refine my theoretical knowledge, advance my basic skills, and be exposed to a more feasible environment. I have been listed on the Dean's Honor Roll during my school attendance. I was also invited to join the Chi Epsilon, the National Civil Engineering Honor Society. My excellent academic performance inspired me to rise with my achievements to a higher level and aided me to put my talents into optimal use.

During my senior year, I was a structural engineer in a five-student senior project team whose task was to design and build a conceptual community service center which was assessed by academic and industrial advisors. This project enhanced my abilities in problem solving and adapting my knowledge to real life problems. It also consolidated the effect of sustainability and energy deficiency in the process of planning, initiating, and executing a project. My interest in structural engineering was fostered by the encouragement of my professor, Dr. XXXX, who used to instill in my mind the desire for advancing my understanding of the framework of structural engineering. As a structural engineer student, I used to perform load calculations through applying the IBC and ASCE-07 codes. Moreover, I used to analyze structural stress and deformation and also designed and selected the correct structural members and connections through applying the building code requirements of structural steel (AISC) as well as reinforced concrete (ACI).

I first encountered civil engineering practice when I started working at a local firm (XXXX) in May 2009. While working at XXXX, I helped in providing the public sector clients with a diversity of professional civil engineering services. Our projects included, field inspection, plan/profile development, water hydraulic modeling analysis, as well as designing water distribution and transmission systems. Working at XXXX has considerably improved my ability to work as a part of a collaborative team, potentiated my technical, managerial, and communication skills, and taught me to provide acceptable level of service under enormous pressure.

In addition to my school related commitments, I participated in a lot of extracurricular activities both in and outside of school. I always enjoyed keeping fit by regularly attending the gym up to three times a week. This helps me improve my body fitness and adopt a healthy life style. Moreover, I helped in organizing blood pressure and blood sugar check up camps and worked as an environmental health educator for children in my home town. I was also involved in social activities that were concerned with helping the under privileged people in my community.

Now, a few months after my graduation from the school of civil engineering, I am planning to take the next step. With my strong belief that modern life is greatly dependent on civil engineering which provides the outlet to impact the lives of others, I decided to join a PhD program in structural engineering. Your school has a reputation for being progressive and innovative. I recognize your program for its research in structural health monitoring systems, finite element modeling of structures, and advanced concrete and composite structures. I feel that the PhD program delivered by your esteemed university will definitely advance my steps on the road of success and fulfill my personal and professional ambitions.

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