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Caltech Engineering Essay, my ideas to come to fruition


sdinnu 2 / 5  
Sep 2, 2010   #1
Hello Guys, this is my essay response to the caltech engineering page long essay. I just wanted to know what parts need to be revised and if the essay itself is up to par for a college of this caliber. This is still the beginning of my essay writing so I am still trying to get a hold of the system. This is still a draft so if there are any parts of the essay where the story doesnt flow or the wording is awkward please let me know. Thanks for your help!

In a page, more or less, tell the Admissions Committee how you express your interest, curiosity, or excitement about math, science or engineering.

"Buy now and we will double the offer! All for only $19.99!" My eyes fixated to the television set as my ears clung to the distinct hoarse voice of Billy Mays. Often enticed by the unique products sold on his commercials, I was drawn into his new show, Pitchmen, where inventors throughout the United States present their ideas to Billy and his team. By the end of the night I was a torrent of mixed emotions; I applauded that the ideas had never dawned on me, but viewed them thinking, "I could have made that."

The initial thrill of dismantling a device serves as a genesis of engineering passion for most. However, I, at the time, found the maze of complex wiring and indecipherable parts incomprehensible. Instead of stripping apart a remote control car to reveal a dull circuit, I would rather strap on a video camera and take the car for its first unmanned expedition. This idea of assembling parts rather than dismantling them solidified throughout my high school years. Although many aspects regarding the internals of gadgets were intriguing to me, it was more riveting to collect a compilation of parts and repurposing them to introduce a whole new meaning. My innovative spirit, complemented by an adamant 'do-it-yourself' attitude, molded me as an inventor fit to create the next product advertised on television.

The inspiration for this product occurred to me during my physics teacher's demonstration of the Van de Graaff generator. Standing close to the generator throughout the presentation, I felt it tugging at the roots of my hair. It then hit me; couldn't I harness the same electrostatic force and solve a common household problem: excessively shedding pets. I was delighted to solve an issue by creating my own invention. For months, I dwelled in the public library, attempting to understand the principles that Charles Coulomb had, seemingly effortlessly, discovered centuries ago about static electricity. Despite the challenging endeavor, over months of concentrated work, my vague mental image began to solidify into a functional prototype, of course, constructed by repurposing items found around my house. I tore apart a negative ion generator, utilizing its Cockcroft-Walton high voltage generator to power my device, and mounted it on some old PVC piping I had laying around. After I added my other components such as a high voltage relay and copper collector plate, I insulated parts of the model using electrical tape and regular plastic shopping bags; points that would be later replaced with an industry-grade polytetrafluoroethylene coating. Quite frankly, the meticulous effort of prototyping helped me understand the depth of work required to construct one of the inventions that 'I could have made'. Although my passion for inventing blindly drove me down this route, I finally began to appreciate the dedication of the inventors I had previously discredited.

On August 29th, 2010, my application for my electrostatic hair collector finally sat on the desk of the US Patent Office. The long road from inception to construction to recognition provided me with a unique adventure that many others strive to have. Caltech's fabulous engineering department has patented hundreds of their own creations. Inventors such as Dr. Diallo from the Molecular Environmental Technology department, who utilized dendritic cells from human immune system to bind and purify water pathogens, and Professor Morteza Gharib from the Gharib Research Group, who invented a valve-less and blade-less pump which could be used in the circulatory system without damaging red blood cells, have shown me how innovative and dedicated the engineers at Caltech are. With the help from a mature and successful department, I plan to dedicate my time uncovering unique answers to tomorrow's problems. In time, I hope the support from the Caltech engineering department will allow my ideas to come to fruition and, one day, be sold by a pitchman equal to the departed Billy Mays.
ershad193 14 / 333 5  
Sep 4, 2010   #2
You have a cool start to the essay. However, your second paragraph is too cliched for my liking. It would be better if you leave out the second para and link the first with the third.

I think the fourth para would be even better if you add a sentence or two on how you made the hair collector. Adding some aspects of the actual construction procedure would show the AOs that you really know your stuff.

This is a good essay. Add the part on Caltech and post the revision.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 4, 2010   #3
"I could have made that."

Ohhh.... very good idea.

I agree with Ershad: cool start.

My engineering mindset was one fostered from an early childhood. Like most people, I began by dismantling old speakers and other devices hoping to find a simple answer to their functionality. However, instead of uncovering a miniature opera singer from the torn apart speaker, a maze of complex wiring and indecipherable parts revealed themselves. --- this sentence is not quite right. It is YOU doing the uncovering, but it is the PARTS revealing themselves. Do this:

However, instead of uncovering a miniature opera singer from the torn apart speaker, I discovered a maze of complex wiring and indecipherable parts.

On August 29th, 2010, my work on my electrostatic hair collector finally sat on the desk of the US Patent Office. --- that is great!! Very impressive...

(I will add more about how Caltech's engineering program will help me.) ---- yes, this is important. Tell them your intentions for the future. It is your potential for future contributions that makes them feel inspired to accept you into the program.

This is great. I think you'll be well-received!!
OP sdinnu 2 / 5  
Sep 4, 2010   #4
I rewrote parts of the essay and followed both of your recommendations. I completely got rid of the second paragraph and used parts of it to transition between the first and third paragraph. I also included the Caltech portion of the conclusion. If there are any parts that are awkward ( i tend to do that often) please tell me. Also is my conclusion part about Caltech correctly done? Im not sure if I conveyed my contribution to caltech well enough and if i might have been maybe too wordy. Thanks again!

______________________________________________________________________ ______
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 6, 2010   #5
However, I, at the time, found the maze of complex wiring and indecipherable parts incomprehensible.

I don't think "however" is necessary here:
However, I, At the time, found the maze of complex wiring and indecipherable parts incomprehensible.

This is great, and I love how it ends with another reference to Billy Mays. I think you did great.

I would move "blindly"
Although my passion for inventing blindly drove me blindly down this route, I finally began to appreciate the dedication of the inventors I had previously discredited.


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