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Fellowship Essay for PhD program-how do you plan to help Egypt?


abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 6, 2010   #1
Hi all,

I'm applying to a PhD fellowship to MIT. I really appreciate your help evaluation my answer to the below question:

Please provide a brief statement on your public service engagement (past, present, future) and commitment to Egyptian public service. What are your career plans and how do you plan to help Egypt?

During my high school years I was the president of student union of my school, public local school in Tanta Town. We did a project about "Green School" for a national competition. The project took the first place and this was the first time for a local school to win this competition.

...

freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 7, 2010   #2
Some grammatical errors :)

During my high school years I was the president of the student union of my school,a public local school in Tanta Town. (Here, don't you want to actually put the name of your school?) We didcompleted a project about "Green School" for a national competition. TheOur project tookwonthe first place.and this It was the first time for a local school to winwon this competition. The Governor held award ceremony on our behalf and we got showed uppresented on the local TV channel. We inspired a lot ofmany (The reason I changed this is because "a lot" tends to be overused and is also weak) local schools, and the next year, two schools from my town took the second and the third place in the same competition. This experience made me realize that if I can compete national, can I do it international?inspired me to compete internationally.

Next year, I applied ofto the ThinkQuest African competition. I assembled a team, including girl from Cairo and a boy from The Republic of Ghana. I wanted to have different perspectives in my teama diverse team . We didprepared a project about wars that happened in Africa and how it affected the economy, people and everything in Africaand people in Africa (Here, you should be specific, rather than saying "everything" . We callednamed the project "Live or Die!" and appliedwith a black/whiteblack and white theme to show the contrarinessemphasize the conflict of war (Is this what you were trying to say? If not, please let me know) . This project inspired many people, es pecially Mrs. Susan Mobarak, the first lady of Egypt. We were awarded withthe Star Award for best project and best content. We also got an article onThe Al-Ahram newspapertalkingwrote an article about our initiative. This experience changed my way of thinkingperspectives and how effective I can be to the world around metaught me that I can influence the world .

I got into volunteeringvolunteered in activities via my English schools teacher. I joined International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), Egypt section as IT committee member. We did a lotvarious projects, including the "Voice of America competition" and "Access Alumni Network." (Remember that punctuations go before the quotes, even if the phrase is a name or title) Later I joined Egypt-ERA and became a core member and responsible for the IT infrastructure. This experience maturedadvanced my IT skills. (I think its better to end the sentence here)and bB y the time when I had to admit for the collageI applied for college , I decided to goapply for Computer Science Faculty, Menufia University. Unfortunately, this was against my family will.

My family has itsa passion for the medical field.as mM y father has a small pharmacy, and my sister is studying medicine. For myselfUnlike them, however , I had other plans. They argued meWe argueda lotfrequently but I insisted to study what I desirepursue my passion . I was extremely happy when I got accepted to the Faculty of Computer Science, but the "ungraceful" look I saw in my parents' eyes wasmy parents' disgraceful expressions were unbearable.

The collagecollege (collage is actually a type of art, if you were wondering :), the faculty was recently established and, so it didn't have room for student activities. Therefore, I formed a student community with my colleagues and we called it MUFIX. MUFIX gotreceived the attention it needed and it began to enrich college experience and be part ofinfluence students' daily lifelives . We started an infrastructural project to automate paper work. We also hosted national and international speakers from various IT fields. SharingThrough my vision and responsibility made, MUFIX lasted longer than I had anticipated. After 6 years, I am still remembered and recognized as theits founder. This was my gateway to International Organizations.

I gotreceived a call from a IEEE Egypt, Gold Section representative where he, who encouraged me to bebecome a member and represent them in two remote universities. This was a challenge because these universities where totally isolated of suchlacked student activities. Year after year, more students get moregrew interested in our activities and events speciallysuch as "Egyptian Engineering Day" (EED), where graduated students get a chance to present their graduation projects to the industry people. I got involvedparticipated in "Arab Science and Technology Foundation" (ASTF), which aims fortargets people with ideas who lack fund and marketing skills. ASTF hashosted two famous projects I'm proud to be part of: "Your Project is Reality" and "Technology business plan competition". InThrough these projects, I met a lot ofcountless enthusiastic youth with great ideas that aim mostly forabout the development of Egypt. This experience was the main source of inspiration formost inspired my graduation project.

At my final year at collagecollege , I and my colleagues and I (This is one of those weird rules in English that says that you should always put yourself last when listing people. They say it's for manners -.-) decided to develop a hardware device that would secure campus network cheaply and autonomously. However, we lacked funds to buypurchase the necessary hardware components that we needed. W, so w e had to researched and fund-raised the project ourselves. We managed to getreceive a 70% fund from the Egyptian governomentgovernment, (You need to work on spelling. To help, you can always use the spell checker that comes with Microsoft Office :) and this was the head start for us. (Try to add a transition here, such as: "When we finally completed and submitted our projects, to our surprise, we won ..." or something similar. Right now, the way you talk about how a fund started and move into how you won an award is too abrupt. Maybe describe the project progress.) We won "Best Software Project" Award in EED 2007. We got Interviewed by TVwere interviewed and gotreceived an article on the first page of Algomhoria Newspaper. ThereTo my relief , my parents were extremely proud of me and believed that I was indeed on the right path. I got the third rank on my class and soAs third of my class, I was nominated to join teaching staff. However, unfortunately, I had to refuse the nomination.

Although w orking as a faculty instructor is very prestigious but, I had to refuse that opportunity because my family had some serious financial problems. Because I was the only available variable of the problem equationsource of income,and working as instructor wasn't right at that moment. Although m y professors had a plan to guide potentials, but they respected my decision and encouraged me to continue my education when the time is right. Thereafter, I gave myself a 5-year plan to fix everythingthe situation and getearn decent independent life. Soon, I married my beautiful girlfriend. Get, attained more and more experience from my work and then get, and returned back to my faculty andto contribute my findings. SurpriselySurprisingly , I was able to do my 5 yearscomplete plans in just 3 years.

I worked as a software developer at ASSET Technology Group and I was outsourced to Vodafone Egypt the biggest telecom company in Egypt and the world. During my work, I got in touch with latest technology and I was able to seesaw the gap between the academia and theacademics and industry in Egypt. This encouraged me to pursuitpursue my PhD, to fill that gap, and be part ofto assist my country's development process.

The fact I learned fromFrom the projects and communities,I was part of isI learned that a lot of people hashave the potential for public service. They allAll they need a pushis encouragement . Through my student community , I created a student community to pushedthe students to serve the society,I used that to push the teaching staff to encourage and award students I used that to push, and the administration staff to make students' lives easier and fun. A lot ofAlthough many people were disappointed when I refused the faculty nomination but , they arewere confident that I'll do my best to serve the bigger community. I'm willing to work harder and travel the world to grab what I can to better developimprove my culture, my society and my country.

Whew! :) That was a long one! I commend your essay and your accomplishments. They were very inspiring indeed!
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 8, 2010   #3
Perfect. I really can't thank you enough for what you did and your tips. I will make to use spell checker :) next time.

Thanks a million
Abbas
freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 8, 2010   #4
I will make sure to use spell checker

:D

No problem. I learned a lot from your essay, though what I learned was not necessarily English writing. But I was still fascinated with your content. It is truly inspiring. :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 8, 2010   #5
This experience made me realize that if I can compete national, can I do it international?--- this sentence needs to be carefully rewritten. It seems like a difficult one, but it is a very important sentence to write clearly.

Also, I think this needs an introduction paragraph added to the beginning. Write a paragraph that gives an overview of what the essay says. End the intro paragraph with a thesis sentence that states the MAIN TRUTH of the essay -- the message that you want the reader to remember:

I express my commitment to Egyptian public service in three ways: __________, ____________, and ____________.

Do you know what I mean? Give a clear thesis that the reader can hold onto and use in order to understand all other paragraphs. Give an intro that tells one clear sentence that is the main idea which is related to all other ideas.
freezard7734 17 / 209  
Aug 8, 2010   #6
This experience made me realize that if I can compete national, can I do it international?

Oh! I can help with this one:
"This experience made me wonder: If I can compete nationally, can I do it internationally?"
How about that? :)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 10, 2010   #7
Awesome. Do you think that looks right, Abbas?
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 12, 2010   #8
Yes, it looks perfect to me.

Also, I think this needs an introduction paragraph added to the beginning. Write a paragraph that gives an overview of what the essay says.

Yes, you are right. I think I need to have an introduction paragraph. Maybe few lines to indicate my responsibility to the county I live in.

I express my commitment to Egyptian public service in three ways: __________, ____________, and ____________.

I just want to highlight that my live story shows my commitment. How can I express that?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 14, 2010   #9
I just want to highlight that my live story shows my commitment.

Go deeper. Your life story does reflect the commitment, but what GENERATES the commitment? What drives you?

You can tell them about a feeling you have and about an opinion. You are committed for a reason. As you explain the commitment, tell about the examples of your work that demonstrates commitment. Do not just tell about your work. Also tell about your driving philosophy.
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 17, 2010   #10
Go deeper. Your life story does reflect the commitment, but what GENERATES the commitment? What drives you?

I spent my early childhood outside my hometown, Egypt. When I came back, I wanted to express how much I love my country. I decided to work hard, be part of the development process and make a difference.

What do you think with this as an introductory paragraph to explain what drives my commitment?

Thanks a lot for your help,
Abbas
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 19, 2010   #11
I spent my early childhood outside my hometown, Egypt. When I came back, I wanted to express how much I love my country. I decided to

Nope! You still do not say what makes you appreciate Egypt. Maybe you noticed some beautiful aspects of Egyptian culture that were absent in the places you visited. What do you love about Egypt and its people?

Also, you need to say home country, not home town. Egypt is not a town.

:-) I admire your seriousness about this! Please add one more sentence to tell what makes you want to benefit Egypt. Is it just because it is where you come from, or is there a more meaningful reason for your allegiance?
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 25, 2010   #12
Nope! You still do not say what makes you appreciate Egypt. Maybe you noticed some beautiful aspects of Egyptian culture that were absent in the places you visited. What do you love about Egypt and its people?

Thanks EF_Kevin for your feedback. what do you think now?

I live in a developing country, Egypt. Some people compare it with developed countries and curse everything around them. Few hope for a better future. Fewer are working hard to make that future. I belong to the latter group because I feel grateful for what I am and want to return my country's favor. I want to bring change in me to bring change in others. This is why I want to pursue my grad studies in the US. I want to meet new people, see different culture, learn and study, contribute to the science, then come back to my country and share my experience and my findings to better help develop Egypt.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 27, 2010   #13
I just want to highlight that my live story shows my commitment. How can I express that?

Say "life story," not live story.

I want to bring change within myself so I can bring change to other s. This is why I want to pursue my grad studies in the US. I want to meet new people, see different cultures , learn and study , contribute to the science, then and come back to my country and share my experience and my findings to better help develop Egypt.

This is getting much better now! You did what I was hoping you would do. Now I can read this and know you really want to benefit the people of Egypt.
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Aug 30, 2010   #14
Thanks a lot EF_Kevin. You really helped me a lot.

It seems that I need to work on my English writing :). Do you recommend any resources?

Abbas
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Aug 31, 2010   #15
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
On Writing by Stephen King
John Cresswell's work about research design.
Diana Hacker's work about academic writing

:-)

***** I MOVED YOUR NEW ESSAY TO ITS OWN THREAD. Please find it by clicking your username.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 18, 2010   #16
This is very impressive.

"Voice of America Co mpetition"

I think you did great with this!!
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Sep 20, 2010   #17
Thank you a lot EF_Kevin for your encouragement. Wish me luck.
mea505 - / 265  
Sep 20, 2010   #18
Abbas,

First, let me say that you have one impressive essay/short thesis here. I enjoyed reading it. I think that Kevin and a few others steered you in the right direction.

I will offer you only one comment concerning the essay. It involves the first sentence:

I live in a developing country, Egypt. Why don't you write: I live in Egypt, a developing country? It just sounds a little better. Otherwise, I think that you have an essay that is ready!

Mark
OP abbasadel 2 / 9  
Sep 21, 2010   #19
Yes Mark, it really sounds better. Thanks for your contribution.

Abbas
mea505 - / 265  
Sep 21, 2010   #20
Yes, indeed! Your essay looks great! Other than the change that I recommended, there is nothing at all wrong with it. Good luck with it!

Mark


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