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Columbia Supp., one notable book, favorite academic class, why Columbia, why major

Naverist 1 / 2  
Nov 27, 2011   #1
Hello! This is first time I'm writing here!

I've been working on this supplement for a bit, and just wanted to hear some outside opinions. I've done some peer-editing, but I can't seem to get any more help from my peers.

Please tell us what you found meaningful about one of the above mentioned books, publications or cultural events.
One notable book in which I discovered profound meaning is All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, a World War One veteran. The story focuses on a German soldier's everyday life living on the front line. By portraying the grim face of the war, the book is in stark contrast to what is normally portrayed as heroic or valorous acts in films like Saving Private Ryan or other war-related books.

I can relate this book to a short story called Flickering Light in our Korean Literature class, about the post-World War II situation in Korea. An old lady provides hospitality even to Japanese people, who once colonized our country. She knew a Japanese friend of her son, who died alongside Koreans in a concentration camp fighting for the independence of Korea. This story made me reconsider my perception of Japanese as villains who once colonized my country.

From both accounts, I learned a profound lesson that no matter what the mass media feeds the public, no matter how convincing propaganda or ideologies may be, there is always a group of conscious people who refuse to ride the bandwagon and make judicious decisions.

Please tell us what academic class has been your favorite and why.
One of my most favorite academic classes has been biology. Up to middle school, I was only interested in science in general, but I opted for biology while attending high school. High school biology classes have always intrigued me and left me with more questions to explore.

Being in a language school focused in humanities, biology was one of the few classes that met my specific academic interest. It was not only interesting to read about various organisms and how they interact within an ecosystem but also exciting to read about brilliant figures in biology, such as Thomas Hunt Morgan, who researched genetics using fruit flies while he was a faculty member at Columbia.

What's more, we had lab sessions, an opportunity that most other Korean high school students don't have. During lab sessions, I would learn how to dissect a live frog, a chick embryo or a cow's eye, identify parts and organize them. So we had a chance to apply what we learned from our textbooks.

In addition, our biology teacher Ms. Jung had a lot of enthusiasm and was eager to answer any questions I asked. Thanks to her attitude, I always found biology an interesting and worthwhile subject to pursue. Whenever I had a follow-up question from the previous lesson or a problem I couldn't solve from a textbook, she would gladly answer it. If it was an ongoing research that had no clear answers, she referred me to a few journals and news reports that we could read about it as well.

Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why.
Of all possible mistakes, I botched the most debilitating step in an experiment. I was at a lab session in the Genetics & Molecular Biology Program of Columbia University Summer High School Program, and apparently, I contaminated the experiment tubes while using restriction enzymes.

After class, my lab partner Nick Stanley and I went to Professor Hazen. I felt uncomfortable about the mistakes. Everyone had to hand in a report after the experiment, so there would be a serious problem if I handed in the report with the results left blank. Also, everyone else had done in perfectly, so I felt completely lost. To our surprise, Professor Hazen said she could give us a viable sample for the experiment, and she showed us how to account for the mistakes. The professor not only showed us the answer, but also demonstrated what scientists should do, because not every single experiment is a success.

Professor Hazen's help reflects Columbia's devotion to science education. I'd like to continue researching with Professor Hazen. Not only that: Columbia also has innovative thinkers who make significant discoveries. I interviewed Professor Terwilliger this summer about genetic mapping of the Korean diaspora. In addition, Professor Terwilliger emphasized the idea that since we can't yet modify our genetic building blocks, we can at least observe, understand functions of certain genes and even prevent genetic diseases.

For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Application Data section.

It was two weeks and three days into counting cells, and my eyes hurt and my back bent from hours spent counting. However, I couldn't miss a single spot, or I would have to count all over again. A research assistant came by.

"I came here thinking I'd make some momentous discovery," I quibbled. "Yet I'm sitting here counting cells nine to five."

"Well, that's right, that's what Pasteur did. You heard only about the results. Wait and see, you'll see why the most boring job in the world is actually the most important part of a discovery."

After five more days of such a monotonous grind, I finally handed in the data to be analyzed. The results confirmed that, for many cancer patients, certain physiological processes peaked when tumors resisted treatment. With this knowledge, doctors could now assign treatments to many patients more efficiently.

The relationship between studying these small living things and the larger world held profound significance for me. That the modifications in these seemingly insignificant cells could give a second chance to once-terminal patients seemed to be a Pasteur moment in modern cancer research. What's more, when medical technology improves further, cancer might be completely conquered.

The prospect of potential development in cancer research and that I may take part in it makes biology or biochemistry an appealing major for me.
yyq2008 - / 1  
Nov 28, 2011   #2
Hi, I am also working on transfering to Columbia University and thinking about how to write this stuff.
May I get your email address, I want to discuss with you.
Thanks. Mine is elva.yang312@gmail.
Vvarsha 4 / 8  
Dec 26, 2011   #3
add more about why you like bio chemistry, that can't be your concluding sentence

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