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'A Knowledge Seeker' - Master's Program in Chem. & Biomolecular Engineering

u08 1 / 2  
Dec 14, 2011   #1

I would like some help in commenting/editing my personal statement for a Master's program that I want to apply for. It is for Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and this university requires me to study Master's before I proceed to do PhD. There is no word limit set, but I guess an essay around 1000 words should work the best so I've written about 1050 words. I wrote my essay with PhD as my final goal in mind.

Should I also include a paragraph on being meticulous? I was promoted as the secretary for a committee because I am organized and meticulous about details. Do you think it is important to include this information?

Thank you in advance!

Personal Statement

A Knowledge Seeker

I would be lying if I say I have always aspired to be a researcher. The truth is that the decision to devote my life to scientific research came slowly, but naturally. My first exposure to research was a biotechnology sabbatical during my junior high school years, in which I amplified DNA with polymerase chain reaction and ran my very first gel electrophoresis. I found myself enthusiastically attending more of such sabbaticals during the rest of my pre-university education. Though I enjoyed those learning experience tremendously, it was not until my Bachelor's dissertation project did I truly find my inner call for research. I can never forget that burst of joy in my heart when the enzyme (glucose dehydrogenase) I developed was finally active. It was joy not for my hard work been paid off, but for the new window of knowledge which it had opened. I eagerly leapt through the window and embarked on a new round of knowledge seeking where I utilize the enzyme to regenerate cofactors. It was then I knew where my passion and motivation lie - to seek and discover knowledge. And I believe a researcher is essentially a seeker of knowledge. Hence, I would like to study a Master's program, then a Doctor in Philosophy program and eventually a postdoctoral to deepen my knowledge of biocatalysts.

Marie Curie once said, ""A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales." A scientist is ultimately a very curious knowledge seeker. My thirst for knowledge, too, originates from my innate curiosity. I remembered how, when I was seven or eight years old, I used to take apart mechanical pencils and watches, trying to figure out how these gears and wheels work. More than a decade later, I self-learnt HTML coding. To figure out the functions of the codes, I delete lines of codes from available HTML scripts online and examine which part of the website malfunctions. It is with this self-learnt knowledge that I was entrusted to be the first Information Technology consultant for the Language Elective Programme committee in my senior high school, then as one of the two Technical member of the Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards committee in year 2010 and 2011.

This path of knowledge seeking would not be easy but I have confidence that I will succeed, for I have the attitude for it. Quoting Thomas Edison, "Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration" and "The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense." What keeps me from giving up is that I ask a lot from myself to achieve the best I can. At the beginning of my Bachelor's dissertation on cofactor regeneration, I was unable to attain any activity from the Glucose Dehydrogenase (GDH) that was previously developed (by a senior) and claimed to have over thousand enzyme units of activity. I persevered and worked almost every day, even on weekends. Other than the lecture halls, the only place to find me for the entire semester was the laboratory. Four months later, my GDH had over 4000 enzyme units of activity and it was able to successfully regenerate cofactors for cyclohexanone monooxygenase. Though the goal of my project was met, I pushed myself further to enrich my thesis by optimizing the reaction conditions to further improve the total turnover number. For my entire December holiday, I stepped into laboratory when the sun had only just risen; and when I left, the stars greeted me from high up in the sky. In fact, as I am typing this, I have already spent fifteen hours in the laboratory today, and the only company I have is the humming of the centrifuge machine which is separating my cells from the culture medium.

Academically, I am also a diligent and active learner. I attend all lectures religiously and practice exercises rigorously to strongly grasp the knowledge learnt. During class, I am always asking questions. I may be a fool for five minutes when I post questions, but if I do not actively seek for the answer, I remain a fool the rest of my life. Besides questions, I also actively participate in discussions with the professors. When a question is being asked, I am usually one of the first to offer my answers. Though my overall Cumulative Average Point (CAP) is far from excellent, I would like to emphasize that my ability is not accurately reflected by it as I was unable to concentrate on my studies due to family problems during my first two years of university. However, when the family problems were solved, I was able to demonstrate my ability by achieving CAP of 4.16 in Year Three, during which I attained 4.78 in my second semester and was on the Dean's List (top 5% of the cohort). The results for Year Four are not released yet, but from the efforts I put in, I have confidence that I would fare just as well.

XX, A Rigorous Nurturing Ground

Reputed for its excellence in engineering and science education, XX University harbours top-notch talents who are hardworking and competitive. A chance to study in this intensive environment will only push me closer to my aspiration. There are a number of professors (such as Professor XX, Professor XX and Assistant Professor XX) from the Chemical Engineering departments in XX whom I would love to work with to deepen my knowledge of biocatalysts. In fact, Professor XX has recently published a paper on cofactor regeneration using thermostable NADPH oxidase in the Biotechnology and Bioengineering journal. I was very excited when I read the paper, as this is what my Bachelor's dissertation is about.

I believe my abilities and determination will make me a suitable student to study at XX University. My passion and education background will be a fresh burst of energy and ideas to XX. I may not be the most intelligent nor the most talented, but give me a chance and I will prove my worth as your most satisfying seeker of knowledge.

lhuynh94 2 / 3  
Dec 14, 2011   #2
Though I enjoyed those learning experiences tremendously, it was not until my Bachelor's dissertation project did I truly find my inner call for research

It was then I knew where my passion and motivation lie - to seek and discover knowledge, a nd I believe a researcher is essentially a seeker of knowledge
OP u08 1 / 2  
Dec 15, 2011   #3
Thank you so much! ^^
julesp 1 / 3  
Dec 15, 2011   #4
I personally feel like you could take out one or two quotes. Unless they're something unique/what you really believe in, it might be relying too much on others' words.

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