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Nuclear Engineering - How a mechanical graduate shaped his aspiration in this field.

kxoh 3 / 6  
Nov 23, 2011   #1
HI all. This is my second attempt on my SOP for nuclear engineering MS/PhD. I have rewrote the essay and did a thorough research in the fields of study and identified an area that interests me and would like to focus on research in that area. The essay is very long, so I would strongly appreciate any suggestion on which part(s) are redundant and should be cut out. Thank you very much for your time in advance.

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Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why ***** would be a good intellectual fit for you.

Technological advancement has been the culprit in accelerating fossil fuel depletion and global climate change albeit the quality of life it has brought to us. The concerns have invoked a change in the scope today from the insanely fuel thirsty muscle cars to fuel sipping efficient hybrids. My decision to further my education to postgraduate level in Nuclear Engineering has emerged not from the economic aspect in future career, but rather a vision and aspiration of a young engineer in mitigating the energy crisis through a new found interest. The active research and development of alternative resources together with the technical background input from my undergraduate have orchestrated a profound consciousness in shaping my future engineering career, which I am determined to dedicate it to nuclear engineering.

Nuclear energy was first introduced to me by my uncle, who is himself a practising nuclear engineer. I was intrigued by the sheer amount of energy density contained, and the fact that it is virtually inexhaustible. Amidst this time of desperation when the world struggles with economic and energy calamities, I firmly believe that it is inevitable for nuclear energy to replace fossil fuels, economical and technological wise in the foreseeable future. To fuel my developing interest and curiosity in nuclear, I explored the fundamentals of nuclear power plants and the wide scopes of research concerned with the sustainability of nuclear energy through online resources. I find that the more I learn, the more I yearn for a thorough understanding and involvement in the field.

One area of research in nuclear energy that I find resonating with my mechanical engineering background is the associating cogenerative systems, particularly water desalination using the excess heat. I first learnt power plant cogeneration in undergraduate thermodynamics and have always thought that waste heat has been underrated as an exploitable energy source in many applications today, including automotive and nuclear power plants. The presence of radiators and cooling towers indicates that heat energy wastage still exists. Nuclear desalination offers a clever solution by utilizing waste heat energy in addressing the increasing pressure of accessing potable water associated with over population and industrialization.

My undergraduate degree has provided me with a solid foundation in the underlying principles of mechanical engineering where I grew strong research inclination in thermo-fluid dynamics. To supplement the abstract theories with practical applications, I joined a farm irrigation project under ********* in 2009. It is from this project that I realize securing clean water supply that we take for granted is under the same desperation as energy. I gained invaluable experience in applications of fluid dynamics of water delivery systems as well as water treatments techniques involved in recycling water.

Furthering my insights into current research and practice concerned with energy saving, I then joined ******* as an intern during a student exchange program to ******** in 2010. I worked as a data analyst on the study of building external ductwork prevalence using GIS software packages and spreadsheet analysis under the supervision of ********. It is from here that I learnt the pervasive study of energy saving in HVAC technologies which reinforced my research aptitude. The exchange program also made me realize that it is only through pursuing my graduate studies in USA, with cutting edge researches and state of the art facilities, that I am able to fulfil my aspiration as a pioneering researcher.

The inseparable relationship between environmental and energy sustainability has prompted me to take up a PET recycling design project during my senior year under ********. The project yielded successful outcome with a proposed design weighing less than 500kg that is capable of processing raw PET bottles to clean PET flakes. Potential developers and customers have also been secured for prototyping. Aside from the excitement of personal contribution to the environment and society, I mastered CAD packages such as SolidWorks which proved useful in engineering design.

Energy sustainability and efficiency is an area which I have developed what's best described as an obsession throughout my undergraduate studies. This has shaped my academic and career aspiration to transcend new scopes of research in nuclear power plant cogenerations focussing on water desalination. Of particularly exciting to me is the development of floating nuclear power plants, which provides an ideal platform for cogeneration of seawater desalination. Engineering research today has evolved into one with a high level of integration within its fields, and nuclear desalination is the perfect example. It is imperative to adopt a multidisciplinary approach in order to excel forward. My rich background in thermo-fluid dynamics and mechanical design polished by the projects I was involved in hence complements well to this area.

As a mechanical graduate, postgraduate study in nuclear engineering is indispensable to develop the necessary understandings before embarking on my research. Hence, I seek an institution that offers an extensive range of courses in conjunction with state of the art research facilities. The well structured courses offered together with the established research in cogenerative desalination under thermal hydraulics area, has made *********** (school name) the ideal platform for me in extending my academic pursuits and working towards my career objectives.

Graduate research calls for critical problem solving backed with strong fundamental theories, whole-hearted devotion to every meticulous detail, resilience to continuous improvements learnt from downturns, and most importantly, fervent passion and desire to success supported by a laudable faculty. I am confident that my intellectual background and resolute dedication to academics and research will make original contributions to the esteemed faculty in nuclear desalination. I therefore plead for the Admissions Committee to favourably consider me for admission.
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Nov 27, 2011   #2
As a mechanical graduate ,---Is this right? I don't know enough about it to know if it should say 'mechanical graduate'...sounds like you might be a robot!--- postgraduate study in nuclear engineering is indispensable to developing the necessary understandings before embarking on my research.

I therefore plead for the Admissions Committee to favorably consider me for admission.

If it isn't too long to submit, I would not cut anything. They'll be lucky to have you as a student. Your essay shows your passion and intelligence, and is very well written. Good luck with school.
OP kxoh 3 / 6  
Nov 28, 2011   #3
Hi Susan,

Thank you very much for the review and suggestions. I do however have a question. I always don't understand if a SOP should be on a more personal tone or a formal tone (in a way). I previously wrote an essay, in which I discuss about the problem the world is facing and how I decided to contribute to, on a rather formal tone, and receive feedback saying that I was not showing enough passion. So this essay is my 2nd essay, where I put in more content about myself (and some words that are more informal, like 'intrigued', 'to fuel my interest', 'developed an obsession' etc... Would you kindly give me some advice on this? Thank you!

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