noahremillard 2 / 3 Dec 31, 2012 #1This is my essay for the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke. Feel free to point out grammar errors, etc. Thanks for the feedback.(For Engineering Applicants Only) If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (one to three paragraphs)My freshman biology course was the first time I was exposed to a true lab setting. Within the first month we had viewed cells in mitosis through a microscope and created our own semi-permeable membrane. This new form of learning sparked an interest in science in me that has since consumed my academic life. In the last three years, I have spent countless late nights reading a Stephen Hawking book or a recently published microbiology articles. But my desire to become an engineer didn't arise until last February, when I attended the local Engineering Banquet. Every year the engineers in my town hold a banquet to which they invite high school students who are interested in engineering, with the focus of the event being a guest speaker. This year's guest was Dr. Gabriel MontaĂąo, a research scientist from Los Alamos, who had prepared an introductory presentation on nanotechnologies. Before this lecture, I had never even heard of nanotechnology; as Dr. MontaĂąo began to explain his research, I was quickly hooked. He began his presentation by explaining cantilevers and carbon nanotubes and quickly transitioned into his lab's research into the applications of quantum mechanics. He explained how gold atoms change colors when manipulated at the nanoscale and how this technology is being applied at Los Alamos. His lab was developing smart fabrics that change color when exposed to deadly toxins and even technology that could lead to non-invasive cancer biopsies. When he finished I asked him numerous questions and tried my best understand what I had just heard. When I was finally satisfied, I turned around to find an empty room: everyone else had left.Before Dr. MontaĂąo's lecture, I viewed science as a conglomeration of knowledge that was interesting but somehow disconnected with everyday life. His brief presentation forced me to realize that science is around me everywhere in the products of engineering. More importantly, I realized that the innovations in engineering being designed today are more incredible than ever before. Although I don't know exactly what my major will be in college, my end goal is to be a part of this exciting field. I feel that the best way to accomplish this goal is to study engineering at Duke University. One reason that Duke is my first choice for college is that Duke allows engineering students to explore their options. While some students may enter college knowing that they are going to major in bio-nuclear engineering, I am uncertain as to what type of engineering I want to specialize in. The fact that Duke encourages students to explore each engineering major and then make their choice comforts me. Another reason I believe Duke is the best fit for me is that undergraduates are encouraged to research. My favorite days in my science classes have been the lab days that I have had extra time to explore slides with a microscope in physiology or build a pulley system in physics. This desire for hands-on learning seems to be exactly what Duke tries to foster in its engineering students. I would love to be part of an undergraduate research team or an engineering club or competition.The culture of Duke is another reason why I want to attend the Pratt School of Engineering. While Pratt is relatively small in number of students, the large university feel is maintained by the community between the two main schools. While Pratt students are in small classes that include hands-on learning and interaction with professors, they are exposed to an array of perspectives from the students of Trinity, something homogeneous engineering only campuses miss out on. Although I have yet to visit Duke personally, I am confident that I'm not misjudging the culture of Duke. All it took for me is one shot of the student section at a Duke basketball game on ESPN to realize it is not just a one-dimensional engineering school. With several students were painted completely blue, the entire student body seemed to be in attendance and the sound was so loud I could hardly hear the announcers. The camaraderie and diverse culture are a huge indicator for me that if I attended Duke, I would not only get a great engineering education, but I would also make lasting connections and friendships. The hands-on learning opportunities, the intimate classroom settings, and the diverse culture of learning have all made me realize that Duke is the best university to help me reach my ultimate goal of becoming an outstanding engineer.