Animal Science Personal Statement
Holding a one day old kitten with a mangled leg is just one of many times when I felt certain I wanted to devote my life to animals. Through volunteering with animals and studying sciences at A-level, I realised that I am fascinated by scientific research and Bioveterinary Science. I find myself continually inspired by discoveries; for example, veterinarians had been familiar with Alarm Bradycardia for centuries before cardiologists recently understood it as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy in humans.
My interest in science developed from a young age as I watched science programmes, played educational games and read magazines such as "21 Wiek"; this was noticed by my teachers and rewarded with the Prize for Excellence In Mathematics and Science after GCSEs. My enthusiasm has since grown and I attended a course at the RIGB which increased my understanding of genetics and laboratory work. I really enjoyed using professional equipment to compare the phenotype with the genotype of my DNA for a taste receptor that we share with our primate ancestors. I find it amazing how differences in the gene encoding a taste receptor determine whether people can taste PTC or not, and how other mutations in the DNA, alongside with faults in the suppressor genes, lead to cancer. I broadened my understanding of cancer through reading "Zoobiquity", which has been a true inspiration to me; through comparative medicine, new treatments can be formed for animals, such as Oncept, which uses human DNA to treat canine melanoma. The animal kingdom never ceases to surprise me with phenomena such as the Peto's paradox. This has caused speculation as to whether animals such as whales evolved biological mechanisms that fight cancer; I am enthusiastic about exploring such curiosities.
In my gap year I want to continue volunteering with animals and show commitment to increasing the quality of their lives. I have nearly fully recovered from 18 months of severe anxiety, which, alongside undergoing treatment, has prevented me from achieving my full academic potential; hence I am retaking some modules. Through long term volunteering at an RSPCA cattery, kennels and a bird sanctuary, I have learnt a lot about animal husbandry, behaviour and illness, and received the 'Volunteer of the Year' award. One of the many memorable experiences I gained was the release of a rook. I also look forward to completing a one-day course in Animal First Aid. A week at a veterinary clinic has made me more interested in the prevention and spread of disease; I have learnt more about it in my free time and it was fascinating to learn that 70% of infectious diseases in humans have their start in animals.
I'm interested in evolution and I have enriched my understanding of it by reading many R. Dawkins's books, as well as "The Origin Of Species". A-level Psychology taught me to thoroughly evaluate studies and concepts such as the Lorenz theory of aggressive behaviour male animals exhibit as an evolutionary advantage. I found animal psychology particularly interesting and received an award for my hard work. During A-level Chemistry I enjoyed working with precision and solving problems; analysing NMR spectra to identify organic molecules was very satisfying. I also liked applying my knowledge of Chemistry to topics such as photosynthesis and protein synthesis in Biology and that's something I would enjoy doing in future. During high school, I organised large scale fundraising events for the RSPCA in a team, helped as a library/classroom assistant, and worked with young people with disabilities at NANSA; this has helped me develop good communication and organisation skills, and the urge to help others.
Issues such as the ASFV really interest me; there is a desperate need of a treatment for this virus as it has a mortality rate of 80% and sadly in LEDCs people are forced to cull livestock to prevent spread. I would love to research such current issues and very much look forward to further study.