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Statement of Purpose for MS admission in USA (Electrical Engineering)


Vakax 2 / 50  
Apr 4, 2010   #1
Hi guys, i am applying for an MS scholarship. I want input on my SoP and areas i should work upon more...I want opinions on how effectively it addresses the question, How coherent it is and if the paragraphs gel together perfectly or not.

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SOP Objectives: The personal statement is a narrative statement explaining what is special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story. It may include details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals), explain your interest in the field you propose to study, and demonstrate that you are well-suited to this field. It should also touch on your career plans and your purpose in applying for study in the U.S.

The Personal Statement should not be a description of your resume or cv.
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Leonardo da Vinci defined the principles for the development of a complete mind thus:

"Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses - especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else."

I am a man of art. Surface aesthetics inspire me. I am also a man of science. To go beyond apparent beauty is my passion. I spent my early years often questioning the integration of the two. Could art and science ever form a single, coherent symphony? The answer dawned on me when, as a young student, I learned about da Vinci and his contributions to the world. My reason for quoting da Vinci is very simple. Here was a man who belonged to both religions: art and science. A polymath, his vision was the perfect marriage of beauty as the eye sees it and the structural aesthetics of how things work beneath the surface. This man was the inspiration for my desire to pursue a career in engineering- that masterful discipline where art and science are one.

As I embarked on this path in 2003, it wasn't exactly a smooth start. Complex mathematical models and recondite theories confused me. I used to reassure myself that I had made the right decision to pursue an engineering degree instead of one in art, and that I just wasn't seeing it yet. And sure enough, it was a project competition in digital design that reaffirmed my faith. We were asked to design a robotic arm. I was immediately reminded of da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man'. This sketch exemplifies art and science and Leonardo's keen interest in proportion and it helped me in designing the proportions of my arm. As dedication, I aptly named my project "The Vitruvian Arm". That was my "eureka" moment. Even though I didn't win, I finally began to see the art behind the science: From perception to practicality. Ever since, I sought to take on more and more aesthetically complex projects like Speech Controlled robot, Magnetic Levitation and more.

October, 2005 was a year of great trial and tribulation for Pakistan. A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Muzaffarabad and the death toll reached 79,000. My friends and I traveled up north to help people in the affected areas, and I saw that among all the other problems afflicting the people there, the most crucial ones were no power due to poorly managed electrical setups, major dependency on fossil fuels alone and no means of alternate energy incase of emergencies. Not only did this make it extremely difficult for relief workers to perform even the most basic medical procedures, it also meant that the people living in makeshift tents had no way to survive that harsh, unforgiving winter. There were reports of newborns freezing to death. Children and adults alike succumbed to pneumonia.

I returned from the trip troubled. At the time, I was in my third year at university, studying Electrical Machines, Industrial Automation, and Power Electronics. The thought of an impending energy crisis with no means of backup energy to sustain incase of a natural or forced calamity continuously nagged me. It was the basic principle of a generator - how power is created using mechanical means - that made me research further on the production of electricity. Electrical power generation using solar/tidal/wind energy is fairly common in developed countries, but in Pakistan it is still a novel concept. Also, I had read in New Scientist that engineers were trying to generate useful power from other sources like human motion and muscle activity. I started researching on energy generation and transmission and by the end of that year I knew what my final year project would be: developing wearable devices that converted energy from muscle movement into useful electrical energy that could be used to charge batteries. This was an idea already being worked upon at MIT Media Design Lab, and my project built on their design. I graduated with practical results and an A on my final year project and entered the professional world with the zeal to make original contribution for the betterment of the society.

After graduating in 2007, three years of work experience helped me narrow down my career interests. My training at ZTE (Telecom) and then Schlumberger (Oil) gave me the chance to work with some of the best professionals from around the world. The tasks assigned to me required assembling and maintaining various high-voltage-driven electrical equipment. These experiences encouraged me to delve further into the field of power while polishing my leadership and teamwork skills by working in a cross-cultural environment. My current job as a lecturer at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Pakistan has given me the opportunity to work in an academic environment while practically contributing to the field of electrical power. Here I have helped set up a research group for energy and power systems. The research group has taken innovative steps in renewable energy development, such as harnessing solar energy to power up a home - an ongoing project - and human motion for small-scale setups. I also assisted in the establishment of a state of the art power and machine design lab where numerous machines can be assembled and designed for an enhanced hands-on learning experience. These contributions are in addition to the courses that I have taught, including Electrical Machines and Digital Design along with the labs for Computer-Aided Drawing, Control Systems and Electrical Machines (for which I took the graduating class on study trips to various electrical grids and power plants).

All this invaluable experience has aided me in finalizing energy systems as my future focus of study - a decision that took me almost three years to make, but one I am now confident about. The existing energy crisis in Pakistan due to deficient generation capability and poor transmission infrastructure - to distribute adequate power - has also contributed to my decision of pursuing a degree in Energy and Power. A glance at the scheme of studies offered at various colleges in USA reveal a fine blend of such courses that would enable me to contribute to the energy stability in Pakistan on my return.

Everything connects to everything else. I truly feel that my inspirations and learning experiences have been interconnected, so as to bring me to the place I am now. Leonardo Da Vinci, that man who started me on my journey, was the first person to conceive the idea of harvesting energy for daily use. It is interesting that Energy systems have become my core interest. From Virtuvian man to alternate energy, this is one connection I aspire to live up to.

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Azeri 10 / 137  
Apr 5, 2010   #2
Very enthusiastic essay. I wish I could write like your someday. :-)
I have printed it to scrutinize offline and, I should say, it impressed me a lot. Ideas flow consistently one after another, so they even made me forgot of other aspects of your essay, such as grammar and the like. I was completely persuaded by presented reasons about your desire to study where you want to study. Your achievents and the work done by you in your field as well as your future plans seem very attractive. So I believe you will be successfully admitted and contribute to the growth of your country after returning.
OP Vakax 2 / 50  
Apr 6, 2010   #3
Thanks but im still sure there must be faaaar better writers than me out there. Its a good idea that you went through my SoP becuase i linked in my creative part with my technical side the way you are trying to do. However, be warned that lifting lines and paragraphs straight from someones SoP in your own will jeopardize your chances at the scholarship beacause they use anti-plagiarism softwares to detect if the SoPs been lifted from somewhere or not.

Best of luck with your SoP.
Azeri 10 / 137  
Apr 6, 2010   #4
I know that. I am not going to write SoP and moreover to copy it from anybody. Just expressed my ideas about your essay.
OP Vakax 2 / 50  
Apr 6, 2010   #5
Oh im sorry. I had you confused with Azwi who i was helping for an sop...Im sorry for any unintentional offence.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 6, 2010   #6
Thanks but im still sure there must be faaaar better writers than me out there.

Well, that is true for all of us, but when the reader gets through your first paragraph she will already know that she has an inspired scholar on her hands!

Since you write without errors, I'll give ideas based on the way it affects me as a reader....
Too much use of the word "man" in the first paragraph. It is almost inappropriate in modern times to say "man of science," as if it makes a difference that you are man rather than woman. If it was my essay I would write "person of science." However, this may be my own hangup and not actually good advice!!

Put a comma after every item on a list, including the item right before the conjunction:
Speech Controlled R obot, Magnetic Levitation, and more.

You can use a set of commas or dashes to help manage this sentence;
The thought of an impending energy crisis -- with no means of backup energy to sustain in case of a natural or forced calamity -- continuously nagged me.

I returned from the trip feeling troubled.--- again, just an idea. "trip troubled" is awkward. :-)

...in finalizing energy systems as my future focus of study - a decision that took me almost three years to make, but one about which I am now confident. about . The existing energy crisis in Pakistan due to deficient generation capability and poor transmission infrastructure - to distribute adequate power - has have also contributed to my decision ...

Everything connects to everything else. ---- excellent

Why capitalize Energy and not Systems? I am not sure about what is correct, actually. Like this, maybe:
It is interesting that Energy S ystems have become my core interest. From Virtuvian M an to alternate energy, this is one connection I aspire to live up to.

Again, thanks for helping so many people here at EF!!!!!!!!!!


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