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Postgraduate Robotics and Mechatronics Personal Statement

Numbers, numbers, numbers. We use them to quantify everything. Reynolds number can tell us about the state that a flow is in. Avogadro’s number tells us how many atoms or molecules are in one mole. However, there are far more complex things that, in my opinion, cannot be quantified solely based on numbers. I believe that the human potential is a prime example of something that is unquantifiable via the traditional means. I’m here to tell you why I believe mechatronics is the ideal path for me. During this time think of me as an individual telling you about his journey.

As I progressed throughout my degree, I discovered that I was leaning towards the programming and control systems aspect of mechanical engineering. When I was introduced to programming, I loved the fact that I could use it to automate many tedious tasks, it felt like I had my own personal virtual butler. The first thing that came to my mind was “how could I possibly introduce programming to a physical system?” and that’s when I learnt about control systems and Arduino. The more I learnt about control systems the more I realised how prominent it was in our everyday lives and equipment. I began to notice things that I would have otherwise dismissed; the overshoot in the desired velocity output when using the cruise control system in my car or the settling time required for the ambient light sensor of my laptop to achieve an appropriate brightness. Curiosity got the better of me, and so I decided to buy an Arduino starter kit to teach myself the basic principles of integrating software with hardware. Everything started to merge together as a series of inputs and outputs programmed and controlled to behave in certain ways. It was then that I discovered my interest in mechatronics. To me mechatronics blurred the boundaries between engineering disciplines and was the next logical step in the evolution of engineering.

Problems. Most people hate them; however, I thrive on solving them. Finding efficient solutions to problems is what engineering is all about, and it is precisely what we do in our projects. When it comes to projects I always make sure to exceed expectations. Projects give me a chance to demonstrate my knowledge and they also give me a chance to find my weaknesses within the topic. Our Senior Design project was about Structural Optimisation Inspired by Natural Structures. During this project, we conducted parametric studies on many natural structures. At first, we were manually modelling the structures and then using FEA to analyse them; it was painstakingly slow and inefficient. Therefore, I decided to program a code that automatically generates the structures with the desired parameters. Thankfully all the hard work paid off, and our project was recognised as the best Senior Design Project within the mechanical engineering department.

Studying at AUS gave me the breadth of knowledge and the flexibility to choose my courses. It helped me develop into a well-rounded individual and gave me insight to the many other majors out there. However, I felt that it lacked the depth of knowledge. I always found myself reading additional mechanical engineering books on my own to satiate my thirst for knowledge. I also felt that the American System focused too much on standardised examinations rather than on the projects of the students. It held me back. Most of the students focused on the exam material and understanding how to use equations to solve standard questions. I couldn’t do that. I needed to know why and how the equations were derived. I would focus too much on the “unimportant” aspects of the course and I wouldn’t achieve the grades I wanted. However, I shined when it came time to work on our projects. That’s where I was able to apply all the “unimportant” knowledge that I’ve gained, and that’s what I was renowned for. To me, grades are yet another number, and they don’t define a person’s potential or knowledge.

During my senior design project, I was continuously baffled when I saw many recurring numerically optimised structures recurring in natural structures without any human intervention. The structures that we meticulously calculated were already there in many natural structures out there. This experience opened my eyes to the potential of integrating nature into engineering. The University of Leeds has multiple projects doing just that! The two projects that sparked my interest the most where the projects involving rehabilitation robotics for amputees and Dr. Jordan Boyle’s Project on neuromechanical mechanisms underlying C. elegans locomotion. The University of Leeds offers many optional modules specifically related to those projects in particular the Bio-Inspired & Computing Module and the Biomechatronics & Medical Robotics Module. I hope that I will be able to learn more and to be given the chance to exploit what nature has to offer us at the University of Leeds.

Thank you very much for your time and I hope that you will consider my application. If you have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them and showcase some of my projects in an interview.

Postgraduate Robotics and Mechatronics I was initially hesitant to apply for a postgraduate degree due to the fact that I had a low GPA. After lots of convincing I decided to write my personal statement and apply for a masters degree in Robotics and Mechatronics. In this personal statement I try explaining why my GPA is lower than the standard requirements. After one day I was shocked to find that the university of Leeds' Faculty of Electronics and Electrical Engineering emailed me a conditional offer stating that while the requirement for entry was a 3.0 GPA, they were willing to consider my application if I achieved a GPA of 2.6. They also stated that they wouldn't have given me an offer if they didn't think I could meet their entrance requirements. My cumulative GPA at the time of application was 2.59. I managed to raise it to 2.68 during my final semester (I was able to meet the conditional requirements :D ). I hope that this inspires other students with low GPAs to pursue their dreams regardless of the odds against them!
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