I have a few paragraphs that are going in different directions for a scholarship essay on my major.
Chemical Engineering is my passion
Here are the paragraphs, could I get some feedback about which direction I should take, which of these paragraphs is going or has gone in the right direction? Which paragraphs do you like in terms of an essay about my interest in my major for a scholarship application? Thank you so much for your time and help! Have a fantastic day.
I did not know Chemical Engineering would become a field I felt passionately about. My interests began in technology and science, with a general desire to be at the forefront of innovation. Neither of my parents hold degrees, let alone experience in the field of engineering, so my exposure to this field was quite limited. The closest I got to engineering growing up was destructing and rebuilding old computers in the back of my dad's repair shop. In my mind, I just wanted to be involved with the development or creation of some novel technology, not knowing the logistics behind getting to that goal. As I spent time considering career paths, with my love of chemistry and physics the field of chemical engineering sounded much more appealing to me than just chemistry. The hands-on application of scientific principles rather than research of those principles themselves was more in line with how I wanted to impact and improve society.
As I set my mind to pursuing an engineering degree, I didn't realize the field offered more to me than I intended it to. The more I learned about engineering, the more interested and excited I became about pursuing a career in it. I read literature in journals about environmental applications and nanotechnology applications of Chemical Engineering, and eventually ended up conducting my own research project on engineering solutions for more efficient water sanitation for the Google Science Fair.
The science fair project became a rabbit hole for my research into new engineering innovations. I kept reading, and kept gathering knowledge about the development of Chemical Engineering as a field. This field is so much more than working in a power plant or an oil extraction site. The application of chemical engineering in research opens so many doors to environmental solutions, energy production, and exploration into novel technologies for an improved society. I soon had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lipomi, a professor in the NanoEngineering department of UC San Diego, and tour his lab. I was on the campus as a part of the overnight program for accepted applicants to the school, and I believe this meeting changed the course of my career and my life. Following our meeting, I did some more research on Dr. Lipomi's lab and their focuses. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem I experienced before with my science fair research project- the articles I wanted to read were not free. I would not have access to these journals until I enrolled in a university that provided students membership to the websites. I took the initiative then to email Dr. Lipomi about my situation, and ask if he could send me any of the articles directly. We exchanged correspondence throughout the summer, and I read eagerly read every article he sent to me. I became familiar with the different terms and concepts that would come up, and the more I read the more I understood the previous papers I had read before.
As I entered UC San Diego during the first week, I considered emailing Dr. Lipomi for a chance to volunteer in the lab, or at least sit in on the weekly briefings of the various research occurring in the lab. I assumed I would need to take some time and work in other labs to gather enough experience and credentials to be considered to have any position in Lipomi's research group. To my surprise, and extreme delight, I received an email from him regarding a potential position as an undergraduate research assistant. I replied within minutes, scared the opportunity could slip away from my mailbox if I delayed another second. Excited and nervous, I met with two of the graduate students in the lab the same week, and as I had already read so many of the papers, we discussed many different aspects of their research and other research going on in the lab. It was one of the most engaging and exciting conversations I've ever had. I had spent so much time reading the research papers of these brilliant researchers, and now I was meeting the faces behind the literature. In our conversation, it felt like I had already known them a long time, and I was finally having a discussion with a set of people who knew the research like I did, or rather much better than I did. The most interesting parts of the meeting were when I was able to ask questions and find out different issues and solutions with their process and research in the papers.
I felt great about the meeting, they even showed me around the lab afterward, but this time I was shown more specifically what kind of equipment they used and what all the different polymers and tools were used for. A few days later I received an email with powerpoints about the fabrication of Graphene nanoisland sensors and an official acceptance into the lab as a research assistant. Since then I've had the most incredible experience working in the lab as much as I can when I'm not in my classes. The lab has satisfied the intellectual curiosity I've been trying to feed since setting my mind to
In the lab I get to hear about the different upper division classes in the Chemical Engineering program from older students and researchers, and the concepts of engineering have become a subject of considerable interest to me. Thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, separation processes, and fluid mechanics are all critical areas of engineering that have real-world applications, and the real-world applications are what fuel my interest. The application of these principles in the lab elevates these subjects from conceptual ideas read in textbooks to useful and important principles for solving engineering problems in the lab. My professional aspirations have risen since working in the lab, as I realize the dream to be a part of the innovation in engineering and technology is within reach. Being in the university and laboratory atmosphere makes my aspirations feel achievable, and with this in mind I push myself harder to make sure I have the tools I need to get to that point.
I am willing to devote my life to innovation in engineering and technology, as it is the only lifestyle I can see myself pursuing. Following my undergraduate degree,
I had always doubted my intellectual ability growing up. I had played competitive golf for 10 years of my life, and even went into homeschooling to focus on a golf career, so education remained on the backburner in my life. As is typical in the world of junior golf, I burned out. I loved the game but couldn't imagine myself playing professionally, and I wanted to explore academic subjects instead. When I finally entered a regular public school as a high school freshman, I realized how far behind I really was. After years of homeschooling, with no real prioritization of academics from my parents, I quickly learned I was lacking in basic understanding of the fundamental principles in math and science. The issue with that was that those were the areas in academia I was most interested in, but I couldn't progress or grasp the concepts without the basic knowledge my peers already had to build upon.
The lab and everyone in it has given me the encouragement and environment to pursue and grow my interests in academia, in a way my home life did not. I knew that college would be an experience that would change me, I didn't know it would have such a large impact on my goals, and professional and academic careers so early on. The lab has given me a newfound confidence in my abilities to achieve goals I had always felt were out of reach. The feeling of inadequacy is gone now, perhaps it is partially the lab and partially the maturity fostered in the beginning of adulthood. This opportunity has opened me up to so many more, as I feel like I can pursue other opportunities without doubting myself. More so than anything else, this lab has exposed me to research in chemical engineering in a much more complex way than any paper I've read has. Reading papers has always satisfied my intellectual curiosity, but being a part of that research in a lab breeds so much more of that curiosity within me. It's this experience that solidifies my confidence in my future and my certainty that I want to pursue a career in research. Ever since I was a child building old computers into strange hybrids of themselves, I wanted to be a part of the technological advancement of society, and now I get to see that advancement in progress around me all the time. Research in engineering creates so much hope to solve society's problems. From energy, to the environment, to sensor fabrication for throat cancer patients, engineers get to work behind the scenes to improve society's present and future. This is how I see engineering and what I consider to be the rewarding outcome of being involved in research. Improving or innovating one small aspect of life through engineering can benefit hundreds or thousands of people's lives, and the applications of engineering are so broad that it can solve a plethora of problems across a range of disciplines.