Environmental Biotechnology Personal Statement
How do we fight an environmental crisis? In a country like Pakistan, where concerns such as fighting terrorism, poverty, and corruption dominate the stage, it is unnerving to see how this question is often sidelined. I did not always think like this, however.
My inclination towards science and natural adeptness at it became obvious when, in fifth grade, I was honoured with an Award for Excellence in General Science. My prize comprised of two books: one on General Geography, and the other about Volcanoes. Thereafter, I was drawn towards scientific films and books. I started learning how thousands of intricate processes work in harmony within and around the earth to achieve equilibrium. This fascination escalated over the years. I also noticed how I had a greater aptitude for Biology than the other natural sciences; beyond doubt, there is no system as elaborately fashioned as the living organism.
I was introduced to environmental sciences through coincidence. My mind was set: I wanted to choose a field that had room for scientific research, and as I sifted through the innumerable pages of my chosen university's prospectus, I was exclusively inclined towards it. The theme sounded intriguing, fresh, and unique; it did not restrict me to any single branch of science. Then, as I researched the subject further, I began to see the vast width of its application to my surroundings. My people drink out of rivers contaminated with toxic effluents, live among solid waste disposal sites labelled 'landfills' by leaders, breathe air so heavily laden with pollutants that it is difficult to see through. I concluded without hesitation that this is the field I want to pursue.
I chose this course because it combines my passion for environmental concerns with my favourite limb of science, topped with the potential for research. Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Biomass Digest and other scientific websites serve as a rewarding pass-time. Today, Biotechnology is increasingly being used for the advantage of human beings. Biofuels, for example, are being developed to replace non-renewable fossil fuels; plants and animals are being genetically bred to meet the growing population's demand for food; bioremediation is serving as the ultimate solution to land contamination by oil spills. I believe that it does not end here. There is a wealth of untapped potential in the application of Biotechnology to counter environmental issues, and I have faith that time dedicated to research in this field will bear fruit.
In my second year at University, I led my department's team to victory in the country's biggest Science Olympiad: LUMS PsiFi'10. We participated in three major events, the most appealing of which was 'Earthophilia'. Each team was given a photograph depicting a real-time environmental problem in the city and was given 2-3 weeks to devise a scientific and economically workable solution, requiring thorough research and hours of brainstorming. As a team lead, I made a conscious effort to treat each member's opinion as equally valuable, and kept myself open to constructive criticism.
During this time, I lost my mother to Brain Hemorrhage. However, I realised that opportunities like this do not present themselves often, and so trudged ahead. The week preceding the competition was mostly spent rehearsing and guiding team fellows through the presentation lay-out, the title of which was 'Integrated Action Plan to reduce Vehicular Emissions'. We wrapped it up with a Cost-Benefit Analysis of the proposed strategy to prove its economic feasibility. It was an immensely enjoyable way of learning how to adjust to a completely different environment, to handle the pressures of a deadline, and to be a responsible and composed team leader. I believe I will continue to contribute through similar extra-curricular involvement in the future.
I also interned on-campus with a team for the quantification and formal reporting of Carbon Sinks. The objective was to take remedial measures for combating the surplus pollution. We spent entire evenings measuring the surface area of leaves and counting trees for approximation, simultaneously compiling our work in an Excel spreadsheet. The job was tedious, but rewarding. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I played some role, however small, towards making our University 'green'.
I feel even strongly when I think about Pakistan as a whole. I want to contribute towards a positive change in the country's environment. Ideally, this would be via the next breakthrough in environmental science, but realistically, through a life of hard work dedicated to my country's development and maturation. I believe that my varied interests and capabilities will find home in the UK, and I am sure this course will satiate my appetite for research-oriented learning. I hope to return to Pakistan polished, and equipped with knowledge that will benefit its environment in a creative, economical and innovative way.
I spent almost a month working on this but, to be honest, I wasn't very happy when i submitted it. please let me know if there are ways for me to improve on this... I know its quite long; The University of Westminster somehow allowed a 6000-character statement when i applied through UKPASS..