Why materials science? Statement of Purpose
Like the average kid in my neighborhood, lucky enough to be born into what the society would tag as the lower-middle-class family, the DREAM was to graduate with a high CGPA in a saleable field of study, grab a high paying job ,move across the career ladder, one at a time and live happily ever after. This was our mentality or rather I say this was my mentality. I could not get into the civil engineering course I filed for after high school probably due to my low score aggregate, my alma mata was gracious enough to offer me chemistry as a course of study. Since the goal was only about jumping out of the average life, I thought, I could make it into the engineering faculty at the end of my sophomore year. Interestingly, the plan failed and I was only left with the option of studying chemistry till my finals.
I continued with my studies in chemistry and surprisingly I placed Top five out of about 300 students in my departmental level. I achieved this still without any concrete reason why I wanted to excel as a chemist or what I would like to do with chemistry.
At the end of my 4th year first semester, I proceeded on industrial attachment to a company that produces dairy products and ice creams. I was stationed at the wastewater treatment facility which housed the treatment plant and a Laboratory. My job was simple, treat waste water on shift and run analysis on shift basis too. I did this on daily basis, but towards the end of my attachment, I encountered a blissful change in perspective.
One of the stages in wastewater treatment involves the use of a coagulant. The type used by the company was supplied by BASF. Due to low sales, as a result of the bad shape of the economy as at then, the company was looking for ways to cut costs. They came up with a second variant and my department was saddled with the responsibility of making the judgment in terms of cost effectiveness and efficiency between the two variants. This was a huge responsibility as this would help reduce the cost of chemical supplies needed to treat wastewater. Being on duty on that fateful day, I was given samples of the variants to test and report the effectiveness to the head of department. I tested both variants and I reported adequately that the cheaper variant worked better. I presented the result to my direct boss but instead he asked me to represent the facility at the departmental meeting and table my results.
Subsequently, I met with the MD/CEO of the company and discussed the results, something that is unusual for a staff of my cadre. What did this change about me? Science/discoveries gives voice, makes dreams achievable, gives room for fulfillment and of course can be rewarding. I left my place of industrial attachment for another one after the expiration of my allotted time with two things. The experience, and a change in perspective.
I now understood better why scientists spent much time researching for long hours in laboratories, why financial gains should not be the main reason behind the pursuit of any scientific goal. I returned to school, a mentally reformed individual perspective wise. I took it upon myself to work as a research help to a PhD student working on biosorbent development and characterization. This later influenced my undergraduate thesis. I also volunteered to with a colleague, who was researching on nanoparticles sysnthesis from plant matter. His work is in the mill at present and he was gracious enough to list me as a co-author.Why materials science?
The first course I took about polymers was in my 3rd year, prior to this time, all I knew were just basic concepts. Interestingly, I had a senior colleague in year 5 who was working on textiles reinforcement , I worked a bit with him on the project and this made me more interested in materials testing. During my fifth year, we took another course on polymers, the second part of that which we took in the third year. I had the highest course throughout the department and this gave me a further clarity as to what I will like to do in my postgraduate.
Basically due to my past experiences with municipal and waste water treatment, coupled with my interest in polymers, I'll like to work on futuristic composite materials that can be useful in industrial wastewater treatment/purification.
Lastly, why XY university?
I was curious about learning how educational systems in Yz country was structured when I first came across XY university. I really didn't know much about university rankings then, all I knew was Xy university existed.
Towards the later part of last year, I came across Xy university again and this time I went through several pages on its websites and I was particularly elated when I saw it offered materials science and technology as a course. This endeared the institution to me and I decided I will like to study there.
A jump of 205 places on the QS worldwide university rankings within a short space of 3 years is applaudable in its entirety. This shows the university has and would continue to grow, an evidence of expert administrators at the helm of affairs. Asides this, the presence of a research centre focusing on materials research is a plus and makes the university an ideal place for a postgraduate degree in the field of materials science. Also, the availability of world class and experienced faculty members puts an icing on the cake.
Conclusively, I am thankful for this opportunity given to apply to XY university. An approval to study at the university would be the appropriate footstool needed to achieve my goal of patenting the cheapest composite material used in industrial waste water purification. This is conjunction with getting to work with the brightest minds across the globe. I sincerely wish my application is considered favorably.