Penn Engineering’s interdisciplinary approach to education filled with penchant for invention, dedication to creating solutions to real problems around the world, commitment toward global citizenship, intellectual rigor, and bountiful resources will not only allow me to discover, develop, and deepen my multifaceted interests in engineering but also transform me into a socially aware engineer who is “without borders.”
When I was sixteen years old, I met engineering for the first time. Rather than blushing from shyness, I was daunted by the challenge it held: constructing a physical model of the caspase-3 protein based on the atomic coordinate data and its alpha carbon backbone display on Jmol (an online computer visualization program), as a participant of Science Olympiad competition. Thinking in 3-D might be a mindless task for most people, but recognizing the third dimension was one of the most grueling assignments for me. Spending hours rotating the 3-dimensional representation of the protein on Jmol, however, helped me break out of my two-dimensional bubble. Although there were times when I missed an amino acid in chain and I had to begin unwinding my work, observing the finished product boosted confidence in my ability to become a hands-on engineer.
In addition, the Biomedical Program at University of Maryland taught me how cellular and molecular techniques are changing the way we diagnose and treat disease. These experiences not only boosted confidence in my ability to become an engineer but also deepened my interest in cell and tissue engineering and microbial pathogenesis.
Taking the Cousera programming class “Coding the Matrix: Linear Algebra through Computer Science Applications” helped me use concepts and methods of linear algebra to think about computational problems arising in computer science. It also opened my eyes to a novel approach to mathematics from a computational perspective.
My diverse interests in engineering will be satiated completely by Penn Engineering’s interdisciplinary education which allows students the flexibility in choosing from an array of majors and minors and providing Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professors, whose teaching and research spans more than one discipline. I cannot wait to have a working relationship with Professor Robert Ghrist, who “fell in love with mathematics as a mechanical engineering undergrad,” and get inspired to make the fluent connections between mathematical theory and the real world. Working alongside faculty who is committed to visionary ideas and solutions wrought from working across disciplinary lines would broaden my perspective and allow me to bring a practical, problem-solving urgency to my research.
The combination of fundamental science and professional practice at Penn will enable me to supplement a thorough understanding of fundamental concepts with strong preparation for the professional world. Three years of chemistry experience at my high school has culminated...