Chemistry (MChem) Personal Statement
Chemistry fascinates me, both purely academically and in its varied and massively important applications. That interactions at the subatomic level can have such wide ranging impacts, both theoretical and practical, is astounding. I am interested in all aspects of the subject from physical chemistry, to organic and inorganic, which I was able to learn more about during a science residential at Cambridge; through analytical, which I gained practical experience in during a work placement and finally biochemistry, which I have worked on in projects such as my CREST award.
I was invited by the Weetabix R&D department as the first ever student to attend a work experience programme in their laboratories. Here I was able to experience a real-life lab environment and carry out analytical tests using both GC and HPLC machines. As well as this, I carried out several tests for impurities and checks of the nutritional values (such as quantitative tests for sugars). This gave me confidence in practical procedures and showed me how exciting a career in chemistry could be.
I was able to expand my interest in biochemistry through a project looking at antibiotic resistance and possible new drug compounds. In this I developed my understanding of how resistance occurs, looking, for instance, at enzymatic cleavage of beta-lactam rings, and investigated potential new and useful antimicrobial compounds such as terpinen-4-ol. This project led me to win attendance to the CREST national competition and I presented an updated version at a local STEM awards evening. This then led to a nearby secondary school using my presentation for teaching purposes. I have also been successful in numerous other competitions, such as achieving Gold in the Chemistry Challenge 2016.
Outside of school and competitions, I developed my interest further through reading books such as 'Why Chemical Reactions Happen' and the RSC's 'Age of the Molecule' as well as more popular science books and magazines and by keeping up to date with research developments. I particularly enjoyed learning about the more complex reality behind concepts taught at A level. Additionally, I follow closely developments in green technology. For example, the improvement of batteries and what this could mean for energy storage in the future, linked to the move away from the carbon economy.
I am a keen sportsman too, captaining football and tennis teams; I also coach in both of these sports as well as working as a tutor in various subjects from KS1 to KS4 level. Furthermore, I was involved in a year long project teaching science to children at a local primary school. Additionally, I am part of my school's charity committee and recently went to Tanzania to, in part, work on a building project at a local school.
Participating in this trip involved me raising the necessary funds to go which I achieved through working and organising events. This experience made clear to me how much of an impact chemistry can have in society as the building of a water purification system had changed hundreds of lives in the community. Despite this, there were many problems, particularly in regards to pollution and agriculture, which could be combatted with the input of chemists. This is an area I would be eager to learn more about and possibly impact on in some way.
So, while being a well-rounded student, I do have an overriding interest in chemistry, both academically and in its wider social context. I believe studying it further will both be intellectually stimulating and present exciting new opportunities, either continuing with research or in a related career, such as advising on government policy.
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