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"passion for science and technology" - UPenn: Jerome Fisher Program essay

Jan 20, 2011   #1
I have always sought deeper understandings of how scientific and technological knowledge can be applied in real life, either through initiating my own experiments or taking apart and putting together equipment. These and other stimulating experiences have led me to enjoy more than just the science taught in school and have inspired me to quench my thirst for more knowledge through following the latest science and technological developments in magazines and on the internet. Through these experiences, I have gained new curiosity about and appreciation for the research and development needed to produce everything from my Gore-Tex jacket to the GMO beans I buy to make soy milk for my swimming team; they are marvelous creations of scientists and engineers.

With my passion for science and technology, I had always wanted to get some first-hand experience with cutting-edge science research at an American university. I finally got my chance two years ago, when a lot of inquiries and the support of my parents led to a summer internship at UNC Chapel Hill's lab for creating genetically engineered animals in the Dept. of Cell and Developmental Biology. This was a great experience as the lab not only conducted their own experiments but also handled various intricate projects as collaborations. The broad diversity of lab work enabled me to learn many different kinds of fascinating lab techniques, from basic techniques such as making agar plates, preparing culture mediums, and carefully siphoning waste remains to purify BAC DNA; to advanced techniques such as delivering the plasmid into bacteria by electroporation and constructing DNA components by molecular cloning and recombination.

In addition to assisting others with their research, I also designed my own experiment to draw a christmas tree with genetically modified bacteria using fluorescent proteins. With thorough background research and training, guidance from my mentor, and lots of patience and determination, I managed to complete the task, earning praise from my mentor and other faculty. This experience gave me a chance to put my problem solving skills to use; tackling the mistakes and questions I found after every failure. Realizing how engineering can develop my problem solving skills and with my endless passion for science, I resolved to pursue an education in engineering.

While my problem solving skills have helped me think through important decisions as a leader in my extracurricular activities, I have also paid much attention to developing the "soft skills" of knowing how to effectively lead and work with a group of people. Based on both my violin ability and people skills, in 11th grade I was chosen to be the concertmaster of our school's highly prestigious symphony orchestra. My responsibilities included planning concerts, arranging practices, keeping attendance, and scheduling meetings for the 87 member orchestra. I knew that trying to do this all on my own would not be wise so I devised a new efficient management structure. I nominated three responsible peers to take care of various tasks I delegated, while I supervised their work, solved major problems and made the principal decisions after consulting with my leadership team. Working collaboratively, we managed to successfully bring out the best of the orchestra. Winning championships in both the city-wide and national orchestra competitions was a significant achievement and a testament the leadership team I built. This experience showed me the value of surrounding yourself with good people, effectively delegating work and playing to the others' unique strengths. This conclusion was further reinforced by the old Chinese saying, "a solitary chopstick is easy to snap. A bundle of chopsticks are invincible."

Lastly, a solid business background due to my family's entrepreneurial endeavors and my participation in various business enrichment classes combined with my passion for engineering, has convinced me I want to further hone my knowledge and skills in both business and engineering at Penn. The problem solving skills and professional knowledge I will acquire through my Chemical Engineering degree intertwined with a better understanding of entrepreneurship and management I will receive at Wharton is exactly the undergraduate education I desire. My future goal is to start a biotech company to tackle medical problems I have observed through volunteer experiences in the U.S. and Taiwan. And I know that the best way to prepare myself to achieve this goal is through becoming a member of the Fisher Program in Management and Technology community.

Jan 23, 2011   #2
I have always sought deeper understandings of how scientific and technological knowledge can be applied in real life, either through initiating my own experiments or taking apart and putting together equipment.

This claim is weak until you substantiate it. It gets the essay off to a weak start. Anyone interested in science can make such a claim.

Capitalize Internet.

I think the whole first paragraph is unhelpful. It shows that you write well, obviously, but you have an opportunity to do something more than just acknowledge the coolness of science. You need to show the reader that YOU are determined to do something specific. That is what inspires readers.

The second para is great. Capitalize Christmas.

hyphen: problem-solving

You did a great job with this, for sure. I just want to see a new first paragraph! It is eloquent but insubstantial. Tell the reader succinctly what you intend to to and why upenn is the best place... perhaps you are a fan of some of the profs that will be teaching you because you have seen their articles, books, or other publications? Perhaps there is research going on there at upenn RIGHT NOW that inspires and interests you. Make it real for the reader. :-)

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