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My statement of purpose for Masters in Biotechnology- Northeastern University

Jeyashree96 1 / -  
Aug 1, 2019   #1
Hello to all!
I came across this forum and was really impressed how poeple help each other. I thought it'll be a great way to get my statement of purpose reviewed here. I have completed my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology in India and applying to universities in the USA for my masters in biotechnology/biological sciences.Though my cumulative grade is 8.1/10 (81%), I do not have much of work experience other than my final year project and short-term trainings that I had undergone during my bachelors degree(which I've already entioned in my resume).I want to make sure my SOP is good enough. It would be of great help if you could review my essay and let me know where I need to improve.

Thanks in advance

how biology attracts me

What I find so fascinating about biology is that it enables us to understand the mystery of life and the complex mechanisms happening inside our own body along with the laws of physics and biochemical reactions operating within it. The roots of my proclivity for biological science stems from a very young age when I knew I was born with congenital heart disease. I had a lot of questions regarding my condition. In pursuit of answers to these questions, I started to develop an interest in learning more about disease mechanisms. In school, I was first introduced to the concept of genetics and the role they play in birth defects and other disorders. I decided to pursue a career that will enable me to be at the forefront of research and find a cure for such diseases. The possibilities of biotechnology and its potential to revolutionize healthcare made me choose Biotechnology as my undergraduate major at Rajalakshmi Engineering College (Anna University), Chennai.

I was exposed to the core areas of biological sciences and the business aspects of biotechnology during the course of my undergraduate degree. I found myself inclined towards topics like Immunology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. My grades in these subjects are a testimony to my avidity for them. I excelled in all my laboratory practical classes and mastered a variety of techniques like Agarose gel electrophoresis, blue-white screening assay, qualitative and quantitative analysis of nucleic acids and proteins, staining methods in microbiology, blood group identification, immunoelectrophoresis, blotting techniques, chromatography techniques, etc.

In addition to this, occasional industrial visits were organized by the department as a part of the course curriculum through which I visited companies like Biocon and ITC Foods Ltd in Bangalore, Central Leather Research Institute and Eppendorf India Pvt.Ltd in Chennai,etc. Here, I was able to witness how the work is done on an industrial scale and got an insight into how different sectors are managed in a company.

I supplemented my undergraduate coursework with online courses to extend my knowledge beyond the classroom boundaries. I have completed courses from NPTEL on "Functional Genomics" and "Introduction to proteomics" conducted by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. I secured 97% in a certificate course "Understanding cancer metastasis" on Coursera, authorized by Johns Hopkins University. These courses filled the gaps in my curriculum and added a new dimension to my already accumulated knowledge.

My thesis project played a vital role in molding my perception of the scientific world. I did my final year project at the Genetics department of the University of Madras, Chennai. My project focused on the genetic aspects of Schizophrenia. The objective was understanding the expression profiling of miR-132 and miR-134 in Schizophrenic patients and comparing them with control samples for significance. During this research, I got to use the molecular biology techniques that I mastered during my laboratory classes at college. Additionally, I learned to prepare cell lysis buffers and culture media to grow peripheral mononuclear cells and became well versed in the isolation of DNA and RNA from human blood. I also learned how to karyotype blood cells to look for chromosomal aberrations and design primers for PCR. As a part of the project, I had to collect blood samples frequently from patients at the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai. Being an inquisitive person, I was able to use this opportunity very well to understand patients suffering from various neuropsychiatric diseases. Through this research, I learned how the interplay of various genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the etiology of psychosis. This further fortified my interest in molecular biology. In a span of five months, I got a glimpse of the rigors of scientific research and the joy a positive result could bring.

Apart from academics, I engaged in various co-curricular and extracurricular activities in college. I participated in symposiums and attended workshops conducted by other colleges. As the senior editor of the department magazine, my responsibility was to proofread articles and generate new content related to biology. I benefitted a great deal from this as I had a chance to update myself with the latest innovations in science by reading journals and research papers. I was given an opportunity to be the head of the event management committee to host a National Conference on healthcare. I had to oversee, plan and organize the event along with my team members. The event was a success and my work was appreciated by my professors and the staff in my department. Participating in such activities instilled in me a sense of responsibility and also helped me develop communication, leadership and organizational skills. I believe qualities like these are essential to be a successful researcher besides having scientific knowledge.

The four years of my undergraduate degree has equipped me with relevant theoretical and practical knowledge and I am certain that I will be able to cope up with the rigors of a graduate program. Having said that, the knowledge I have acquired so far is infinitesimal and pursuing a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology at Northeastern University will further broaden my academic horizons and enable me to take a stride towards realizing my goal of becoming a successful research scientist. The interdisciplinary course structure and curriculum aligns with my field of interest and I am particularly interested in the Molecular Biotechnology concentration. The unique co-operative education that emphasizes industry collaborations excites me the most about this program and I believe it will provide an excellent opportunity to attain a real-world work experience and prepare me for a successful career in an industry upon graduating. I sincerely hope you consider me deserving of this opportunity.

Thank you for considering my application.

Maria - / 1,099 389  
Aug 2, 2019   #2
Hello. Welcome here! No worries. As always, we'll do our best to assist you in your writing endeavors. I hope you find my feedback beneficial to enhance your writing style.

Focusing primarily on the content of your essay, I would say that you need to maintain or retain a specific tone throughout your writing to make it appear put-together. Notice how your first paragraph was a personalized anecdote on what you wished to pursue - whereas the next portions were quite too focused on heavily articulating or squeezing your background. I would suggest trying to keep it balanced at all times. If you wish to add anecdotes or small stories, sprinkle them throughout your writing instead of putting it in a vacuum in one portion.

That being said, structure-wise, I heavily recommend keeping your paragraphs short and concise. Observe your fifth to seventh paragraphs. These are all too heavy for readers to appreciate because of their length.

I hope you do well in your applications!

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