STEM Education

Scientific exploration clearly excites you (otherwise you wouldn’t be applying to Caltech). What is it about Caltech’s opportunities and resources that will best fuel your intellectual curiosity and develop your passion for science, technology, math or engineering? (500 words max)

“It focuses 201 precise beams of radiation directly on the tumor. Scary isn’t it?” As I deliver my prepared presentation about the Gamma Knife during the TSA National Conference, I can’t help but wonder if I have really done justice to the power and complexity of this innovation. The Technology Student Association has fueled my interest in engineering and research; from Biotechnology Design to VEX Robotics, TSA provided me with many opportunities to explore STEM based activities. For three years, I have helped design organic batteries, modeled new inventions, and created robots. From these unique experiences, I have fostered my interest in technology based careers. Notably, TSA has encouraged an ideology of engineering that has completely changed the way I think. I believe that engineering is about servant leadership, gracious professionalism, and failures that are not terminal but necessary to personal growth.

Cut to another scene. Pyrosequencing the different patient samples, my dad and I take a lunch break while the machine beeps and groans to its programmed instructions. By the end of my ten week internship, I had become familiar with the routines. Whether mixing electrophoresis gel or categorizing samples from nearby hospitals, I knew the procedure by heart. While lab work may be repetitive and daunting at some times, it is also an opportunity for me to apply the concepts I learned in the classroom. Studying epigenetics with my dad, I contributed my summer break not only to developing my love for science but also to finding a cure to cancer.

Without doubt, my involvement in TSA and my summer internship expanded my passion for research and science, a passion that will carry over into my studies in bioengineering. I am especially interested in the biomedical devices division. Specifically, I want to intern under faculty mentors to eventually start my own research projects. I am enchanted by the summer research programs that are offered by Caltech: the university encourages undergraduate research and individualism. Caltech emphasizes individual STEM education, an ideology that is similar to that of TSA. During the second half of my freshman or sophomore year, I want to explore the Kavli Nanoscience Institute. With state-of-the-art equipment for advance nanofabrication at my disposal, I can experiment and create my own nanoscopic devices.

For me, Caltech bestows the opportunity to continue the research experience that I began with my dad. I would once again be familiarized with the accustomed lab routines. And I would have another chance to contribute back to society with the research that I participate in. Furthermore, Caltech allows me to have an early start on my graduate and professional courses, and defrays research costs to let me have an easier time doing what I love. The university epitomizes what I learned from TSA and my internship: “the quality of life improves when humans realize the importance of working together; a people as a whole only advances when it leaves behind commercial interests and upholds humanitarian ones.”

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