Genetics Personal Statement 1
Hearing the words 'DNA' and 'genes' in the news is no longer foreign to our ears; genetics underpins much of the news we hear about medical advances. From my early teens I have been interested in watching documentaries about inheritance and disease, notably, the interaction of genotypes and the environment and how somatic mutations can lead to the development of diseases. My main motive in studying genetics at an undergraduate level is the desire to be at the forefront of further medical developments. To make a difference to science, to invent and create is a dream shared by many, including myself. As a potential molecular geneticist, I am keen on contributing to the growing medical fields and give my utmost to help our society overcome genetic disease.
Looking to widen my knowledge beyond the A-level specification, I read 'An Introduction to Genetic Analysis' by David T. Suzuki. I enjoyed reading about the structure of DNA, its functions and gene mutations. Having encountered parts of the subject that I found challenging to grasp, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to study at a higher level in a bid to better my understanding. At a recent visit to Cardiff University, I was given the opportunity to talk to Dr Lopez de Quinto about her research. This has given me a firm idea of what a career in biological research entails and further inspired me into pursuing this course. During my visit, I thoroughly enjoyed working with florescence microscopy and was thrilled to find how much greater a scope for observation it provided than my normal school microscopes. As a highly analytical individual I have the ability to identify and seek multiple perspectives in order to achieve accuracy within the task at hand. Such skills will be vital to me as prospective geneticist especially within extensive laboratory work and research. A unique opportunity to shadow working staff in the Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics departments at the University Hospital of Wales meant that I was introduced to various laboratory techniques such as PCR. Furthermore, I was astounded by the online database that was constructed by means of the human genome project to help identify mutant genes in blood samples. Having had the opportunity to analyse multiple DNA spread sheets I have come to realise that working with DNA is similar to trying to solve a highly challenging intricate puzzle. Involvement in two engineering enterprises and the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust challenge have allowed me the opportunity to develop those problem solving skills. My A-level studies have helped me develop a sharp logical mind which I foresee as an asset for any geneticist to have.
As part of my sixth form studies I have been actively involved in the community life of the school developing reading and scientific skills of younger pupils. As part of my school's Engineering Education Scheme of Wales team I was responsible for product design and the team was nominated for the 'Best Innovative Design' and 'Best Solution to the Problem'. Being part of these projects has helped me enhance my confidence, organisational and team working skills which will be invaluable to me as a student. In addition, I have an ever growing interest in the Japanese language and culture, which had led me to research and self-study the language through internet resources. This has improved my independence which I anticipate will be a useful skill in my undergraduate studies.
I am a self motivated and an enthusiastic person who is craving knowledge, and I look forward to facing challenges that might arise, not just in university but also in my future career. I no longer wish to stay at the bottom of Bloom's taxonomy; I want to rise higher and make a difference to the medical world.
Universities Applied to:
- Cardiff University (Genetics) - Offer AB - Firm
- University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (Genetics) - Offer CC - Insurance
- University of Exeter (Genetics) - Offer AB
- Bristol University (Genetics) - Unsuccessful
- Arabic (A2) - B
- Mathematics (A2) - B
- Chemistry (A2) - B
- Biology (A2) - B
- Physics (AS) - B
Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018
Written by Jackie Wirz, Ph.D.
Fall is swiftly approaching, and with it comes a new crop of students*. It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my applications for graduate school and dealing with the universally awkward “Personal Statement” essay.
One of my goals was to never use the words “destiny”, “passion” or “dream”. And definitely no Robert Frost quotes**. To be sure, my attempts at squishing a lifetime of hopes and dreams into one tiny document were just as awkward as everybody else’s.
I was also hampered by the fact that my educational background focused more on numbers and smelly chemicals rather than grammar and style. Extracting DNA from fish kidneys was, and probably will always be, easier for me than trying to portray a sense of intellectual ability, sincerity, humor, and all of the other sterling qualities that an application essay needs to convey. These days, crafting a CV has replaced having to labor over personal statements; however, the personal statement problem still crosses my mind–and my desk–periodically.
I’ve read quite a few statements from friends over the years. No matter how good (or bad!) the essay is, I’m always frustrated by how inadequately the words represent the individual. (A small word limit can be exasperating, but even a short essay is better than a single word: USC’s college application has a “quick take” essay portion where questions are to be answered with a lone word—guaranteeing a cliché 99% of the time.) I was recently reviewing a friend’s application and found his essay to be mature, well-worded and sincere. But, it was still a shadow of the real Scott. He’s so much more than his essay: funny, sarcastic, entertaining, smart, caring … an all-around awesome guy IN ADDITION to being mature, well-worded and sincere. If I was writing a letter of recommendation for him, I’d copy and paste that whole phrase. Unfortunately, writing glowing statements of awesomeness about oneself without sounding like a jerk is difficult. Covering all of those concepts in a persuasive essay with evidence-based, factual support? Downright impossible.
(Admissions always want you to back up your claims; can you imagine having to do that for the intangible qualities that make a person a REAL person? “I am 67% humorous and 12% sarcastic. Roughly 44% awesome. I took a standardized test. I know.”)
This isn’t to say that people don’t have fun with their personal statements***. We’ve all heard stories of really original and ‘out there’ application essays. My coworker, Melissa, wrote her personal statement about the chemistry of cheesecakes and shipped an entire cheesecake to the admissions office. (Apparently, it arrived on the birthday of one of the admissions officers; needless to say, she got in.) I’ve always wondered if anybody has actually done an Elle Woods –style video essay. And it turns out, many people have. Notably, Tufts University started an optional video application in 2010 where over 1000 entries were received that first year. According to a story by NPR, the video essays could be as amazing OR as dreary as the written essays. Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, a bunch of them strung together in a video may still do a bad job at capturing an individual.
These can be so bad, they become downright legendary. Case in point: Aleksey Vayner’s video resume became a viral hit in 2006.
Its overuse of cliché phrases is only slightly less horrific than the obviously fake action stunts peppered throughout the video. In this case, not only was the video essay itself painful, much of the information presented turned out to be false. Perhaps a more important lesson than “thou shalt not be cliché” is the maxim to “be yourself”. In my opinion, that’s the best rule of thumb for any kind of personal statement–if the voice doesn’t sound like yours, don’t use it. When I speak, I don’t use the word “destiny” nor do I quote Robert Frost. And I definitely don’t pretend to bench press 450 lbs or break seven bricks in one karate chop. Yes, the “be yourself” mantra is a cliché in and of itself, but I simply can’t pretend to be somebody I am not.
That isn’t to say that the over-produced video resume doesn’t deserve a spot in this modern world; I just think that the appropriate spot is in a sitcom more than in an application to medical school. Which brings me to the fictional Barney Stinson Video Resume, quite possibly the best “possimpible” video ever. You have to check it out. Raw awesomeness is priceless.
*Did you know that we have 44 different academic programs?
** So, what DID I talk about in my personal essays? Star Wars, Jeff Goldblum and indecision. I kid you not.
*** Sometimes people have fun with the process by making fake, terrible essays for stress relief. Google “worst titles for college essays” and be amused.
Jackie Wirz is an Assistant Professor and the Biomedical Sciences Information Specialist at the Oregon Health & Science University Library. She earned her Ph.D. from Oregon Health & Science University in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and has a B.S. from Oregon State University in Biochemistry & Biophysics. Her research career has spanned 15 years and has covered diverse topics such as transcriptional regulation, macromolecular structure determination, collagen biophysics and DNA repair. Her professional interests include information, data, and knowledge management, as well as the publishing paradigms of scientists.
Additionally, Jackie is a strong proponent of science outreach and volunteers with a variety of programs designed to promote scientific literacy. Jackie believes in evolution, salted caramel buttercream and Jane Eyre.
About the author
Brycie Jones is OHSU's social media manager. You connect with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bryciejones.
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