This is my statement of purpose for UAMS graduate school. No specific requirements were mentioned for the essay. Any critique/suggestions of the essay will be highly appreciated. I have 2 concerns:
1. Is the introduction fair enough or should I start with something more creative?
2. I am an international student from India but, have received a BS from the States. Should I mention that I am a foreign student? If so, how?
Thanks for all the help!
I was always fascinated and amazed by the way human body and other life forms worked. I took up Science in high school, studying Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (with Calculus), but I enjoyed the Biology lab experiments the most. To build a career around my passion, I chose to study Biology in college. With the support of parents and scholarships, I enrolled at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh as a Biology major with a Chemistry minor and a member of the Honors Program. During my first year, I was a part of the Biology Learning Community. This research intensive course relied on primary literature to design experiments and required me to present the findings to my peers and professors. Having loved the basic research experience, I subsequently enrolled in independent studies throughout my undergraduate career.
I engaged myself in an independent research project in Ms. Janice Marchut Conrad's lab as early as my sophomore year. I investigated the ATP hydrolyzing function of acidocalsisome in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in the presence of blue light, by testing enzyme activity of the isolated fractions against variables such as time, membrane concentration and a standard phosphate curve. During my junior and senior years, I worked with Dr. Donald Slish investigating the pharmacological and phytochemical properties of medicinal herbs used to treat hypertension. I attempted the phytochemical isolation and extraction of active constituents from the vasoactive plant Nectandra salicifolia using various Biochemical techniques including Column Chromatography and Thin Layer Chromatography. Supplementing this project, I investigated how to enhance an experiment performed by the Cell Biology lab sections, by successfully isolating mitochondria from plants using differential centrifugation and performing enzyme activity assays on the fragments. These independent projects provided an added impetus to my interest in research along with an opportunity to learn new techniques, hone skills that I previously learned and think critically along with patience and perseverance.
Courses in Microbiology, Immunology, Animal Physiology, Genetics, Cell Biology and Biochemistry taken during my undergraduate career made me realize that I was drawn towards Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am not only fascinated by concepts like signal transduction pathways, ligand-receptor interaction and regulation of various kinases but, with molecular pathogenesis and pathophysiology behind various human diseases as well. Based on my interest to study the molecular and cellular mechanism of disease progression, I feel that I would be most productive in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences department at UAMS Graduate School.
The drive to know more and the goal of becoming a professor at a university where I can teach and conduct research, has led me in the direction of a doctoral degree. Although research had been the focus in my undergraduate career, my teaching and leadership experiences have convinced me that I am suited to a career as an educator. As a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Jose de Ondarza's Microbiology lab, I loved it when students were able to grasp challenging concepts with my help. I have also tutored Mathematics and Chemistry at SUNY Plattsburgh. Outside the classroom, I was a Community Advocate mentoring and helping first year students adjust academically, socially and mentally to a new phase in their lives; a Student Ambassador acting as a liaison between the alumni and the present students; a Resident Assistant working to make a community in the Residence Halls through programming and education; finally, the Rotaract Club helped me give back constructively to the community. In December 2009, I was inducted to Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.
In addition to life inside the cell, other wonders which feed my soul are traveling, reading, music and volunteering. I also enjoy being in the presence of people from all over the world and knowing about their culture, tradition, music and cuisine.
I was born to parents who value education immensely and have worked very hard to earn a bachelors degree in the United States. In graduate school, I shall strive to work hard developing new skills and improving the ones that I have. I look forward to interactions and discussions with my peers and professors and acquiring experience with modern equipment used in research. The technology, resources and facilities offered at UAMS Graduate School will help me develop my research training and pursue my passion. As someone who enjoys independent research as well as team work, the interdisciplinary approach will add to my all round growth. Financial support offered to PhD candidates by the university, is also a key factor in my choice to continue education here. Most importantly, UAMS places emphasis on student research which is a top priority for me. Thus, a doctoral degree will lay a strong foundation for my future and help me achieve my goal.