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Non-Traditional (old) undergrad transfer (neuroscience) statement of purpose essay UT


This is a request for review of my SOP for undergraduate admissions to Univ. of Tx:

Why did they do it? My father, his mother, my cousin, his uncle; the familial-history deck is stacked against their descendants. Their suicides are a concretely tragic example of the criticality of studying the mind. Sylvia Plath asked, "Is there no way out of the mind?" For many people the struggles they have may only be alleviated by looking within the mind.

My discovery of the glory of science has been gradual and has developed over the phases of my life: teenage skeptic, military leader, mother.

It began with the rejection of dualism and mysticism as a teenager where Ayn Rand's Atlas Shruggedhelped me be at peace with unabashed rationality. And although I no longer subscribe to a naive objectivist viewpoint, I will forever appreciate the first step out of unscientific religious doctrine this book afforded me.

After college and during the six years I served in the Air Force, I battled the depressive episodes of my troops, my family, and myself. I realized that the brain was the seat of discord, and I wanted more than anything to understand what was happening in the brain that caused people in (what appeared to be) similar environments to react so differently. I fed my curiosity on Dr. Patricia Churchland and Dr. Robert Sapolsky, among others, and my appetite for all-things-brain has been insatiable since.

As a mother, I marveled at the pictures of developing fetuses and the organ that constituted most of its mass. How was the SSRI that I was on going to affect my son? As the three years of our time together at home passed, was I providing him with the best environment for "optimal development"? I often turned to scientific journals to help me decipher myth from evidence in child rearing decisions.

During this journey, my husband has been an amazing role model. When he decided to return for a second undergraduate degree and masters, I saw that my first degree did not have to limit my career path. My eleven-year hiatus from academia has the potential of providing a unique perspective on the undergraduate experience. I have returned to a community college to rectify deficiencies in my science background, but in order to contribute to research, I hope to be accepted to a research university with an undergraduate degree program in neuroscience. Perhaps I can contribute to the work of those who solve the mysteries of the brain. Maybe I can help provide a fair deck to our son, and to all those who struggle with the ways our brains can fail us.

Although popularized science has captured my attention and is important in its own right, I have no illusions that science is all wit and watered down conclusions. I find ways to read peer-reviewed journals in my areas of interest. I am excited by the idea that I might contribute to the body of knowledge upon which science popularizers draw. When reading articles that vary from uncovering ion channel function to deciphering neuronal basis of behavior, I am exhilarated by the amount of research open to explore. Could I contribute to a lab at the University of Texas Institute of Neuroscience? Would my non-traditional student status bring a dimension of maturity and discipline to the table? My brain would like to think so.

It began with the rejection of dualism and mysticism as a teenager, where Ayn Rand's ' Atlas Shrugged' helped me be at peace with unabashed rationality.

I fed my curiosity on Dr. Patricia Churchland and Dr. Robert Sapolsky, among others, and my appetite for all-things-brain has been insatiable since.

As a mother, I've
marveled at the pictures of developing fetuses and the organ that constituted most of its mass.

I often turned to scientific journals to help me decipher myth from evidence, in child rearing decisions.

:)
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