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Essay about yourself and why you deserve a scholarship (PhD in Bio Science)

Jan 28, 2010   #1
I am applying for the first time for scholarship provided at my University. Here are the instructions and my response.

Please kindly point out and check for:relevance of my essay with what is asked, general organization structure, content and persuasiveness.
Any comments is highly appreciated. Thank you for reading and your comments in advance.

Please Include, if Applicable:

- why you think you deserve a scholarship;

- your educational and career goals;

- any accomplishments, including any honors or awards;

- current employment;

- your personal background, including any highlights, special situations in your life or other information that you want the consideration (i.e. Returning to school later in life, raising children while pursuing a degree, etc.); and

- any barriers to your obtaining your educational goals and how you plan to overcome them.
Word limit: 8000 characters
Total number of words : ~5000 character (with space)

I am XX, an International student from India, doing a PhD in the Department of Molecular Bio science and Bioengineering and pursuing thesis in area of microbial transport across subsurfaces and ground water contamination across the region of Hawaii. Prior to coming to the US, I had completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering from India and worked as Research Associate (RA) in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Kanpur), one of the premier institutes in India for period of 2 years.

Right from my undergrad days it was a dream for me to study in the US and something that I was looking forward to. However, just when I graduated from my BS degree, tragedy struck in the form of 9/11. So, there was major restriction of foreign national student's entry in the US. I could not make it for the MS program although I had partial assistantship for studying in the US. Subsequently, I undertook Master's program in the oldest institutes for studying Chemical Engineering in the country. It was an enriching experience to study Chemical Engg. from people who had vast experience working in the Industry. At the end of my degree, I got a chance to work closely with the professors and scientists at IIT Kanpur while pursuing my Master's thesis work in the campus. Judging my propensity for research while working in the laboratory, my mentors at IIT advised me to apply for PhD program in the US. I used to keep writing to professors sending 100's of emails everyday to see if they had any opening and not getting reply most of time. Sometimes there were some professors who offered me partial tuition waiver and some assistantship, but coming from middle-class family, it was a very expensive affair for me to pay my tuition, so I could not afford it. It was easy to be disheartened, however, if not for my mentors who supported me and kept pushing me to "Just hang on..." I would have easily given up. Finally, the doors of opportunity finally opened after 1 year of trying, when I got and admission with full assistantship and tuition waiver in the University of Hawaii. Finally, I had made it to my dreamland -the US!

Now, as I am nearing the end of my PhD program, I can see that my interests lie in being a researcher/faculty in a University setup or a national lab. However, the present day situation is not very encouraging for me to pursue my ambition as the economy is down with not much vacant positions available. Moreover being an international student, it is tougher as the only available jobs prefer a local resident. I am sure I can get over this temporary setback by networking-attending more conferences and talking to people. Also, I believe that improving and expanding my skill sets to suit the job, would open up new doors that I could not have thought even in tough economy like this. So I think the best way to prepare in testing conditions like these is to focus on acquiring skills and to not look at just one field or area of expertise but to start looking for more opportunities in diversifying my area of interest.

The scholarship would serve to provide the financial assistance necessary for me to stay in school and manage my expenses. My professor has confessed of his inability to help me, after this Fall as the project has run out of money and he has no new source of funding. So, I am in dire need of different sources of funding to essentially manage my expenses, pay for the tuition fees. and help in traveling back (at the moment, I am put up at US Geological Survey(USGS) in Boulder, CO for conducting research) from the mainland to Hawaii. At the USGS, I got the "best student volunteer" award for year 2008 and have also got travel awards to attend conference in Japan. I have also published two papers (one under review, another published) with regard to my current PhD work in peer reviewed journals and at present writing another research paper to be submitted to a journal soon. I have regularly given talks and presented posters at various International conferences in Canada, US and India.

It has been a very interesting experience for me to travel half way across the globe to come to the US for education and I cherish every moment I spend at the University and working on my research project. I believe that the scholarship committee would wholeheartedly recommend me. I am looking forward to get the scholarship that will aid me in completing my PhD program and successfully graduate from the University of Hawaii. Thank you for giving me such an opportunity to apply and discuss my carrier goals and aspirations.

EF_KevinThreads: 8
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[Contributor] 129  
Jan 29, 2010   #2
I am XX, an International student from India (no comma necessary here) doing a PhD in the Department ...

You can write: At the time I came to the U.S., I had completed my...
or you can write: Prior to coming to the US, I had completed my...
But it seems awkward to write: Prior to coming to the US, I had completed my...--- however, it is not incorrect the way you wrote it! I am just making a suggestion about style of writing.

...for period of two years. ---- Right after this sentence, add one more sentence before ending the first paragraph. Make it a sentence that tells the reader the most important point you want her to remember from your whole essay. This is your thesis sentence, the sentence that tells the main idea of the whole essay.

Make sure you write the acronym correctly:
or write it out as the full words: United States

I am looking forward to getting the scholarship that will enable me to complete my PhD program and successfully graduate from the University of Hawaii.

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