In the following statement of purpose, I have highlighted the reasons for
deciding to pursue graduate studies. This is a brief summary of my reasoning
for graduate study, academic experience, interests and experience.
Having a cleaner environment and inexpensive energy is important for supporting
and improving our quality of life and improving energy efficiency is one way to
meet increasing energy demands. Cleaner surrounding also has numerous health
benefits as well. We are in a world of finite resources and an increasing
population, where science is critical in designing and maintaining systems of
support. Before getting to the present, my interest in the Environmental Sciences
can be traced back to a project I did as an undergrad where I grew plants based
on the visible spectrum of light. This was a Biology project where I used red,
green and blue light to grow my plants where the results reproduced the fact
that the leaves reflect green light.
Following this, I chose Chemistry as my intended major with a minor in
mathematics. Chemistry research has taken me from learning about the metal binding properties of a protein and its role in carcinogenesis.
Here I performed protein expression screening of transformed E.coli cells containing this protein.
The project involved the development of a protein extraction method using
lysozyme which was later analyzed using UV-VIS Spectrometry. Following that
experience was another which used similar techniques; protein expression
screening of a lignin degrading enzyme and attempting to fold it using metal
ions for later analysis. During both projects I learned the basics of protein structure and
methods for expressing and extracting it. I was able to develop skills of
working alone, with minimal instruction and supervision while maintaining the
required safety regulations.
Journey ended with me doing research on environmental topics. For my Master’s
degree, I studied the reactions
of Tetrabromocyclododecene (TBCD), a flame retardant by product, with reduced
sulfur species in aqueous solutions. My results of those reactions showed the
formation of an unknown product, possibly an organic polysulfide. The reasoning
behind these reactions is that studies have shown that the parent compound, the
flame retardant, can removed from the environment due to action from reduced
sulfur species and the hope is that same can happen to it’s by products. My
next assignment was using the principles determined from the hard soft acid
base theory to analyze and measures the reactivity of organophosphorus
insecticides. The experiments were performed by spiking an insecticide into
solutions containing a nucleophile and observing the changes over time. Both of
these research projects thought me how to perform kinetic studies. I was able
to learn analytical instrumentation, such as the GC-FID and HPLC both were utilized
to quantify the degradation products over a pre-determined time course and
observe any product formation.
Being raised in
Trinidad and Tobago, I grew up in an economy which is bolstered by oil and
natural gas. As a result, whenever the price fluctuates, there are economic
consequences. There are also environmental consequences, most recently, oil
spills. I decided to confront the
challenges in energy which plays the crucial role in our lives. Since renewable
energy makes up approximately zero of the total energy consumption and
witnessing several spills and a lack of energy security, I can no longer live
with the idea of sustaining such a system. This leads
into my present pursuit; I am currently pursuing an MSc in Renewable Energy
Technology. As applicant interested in
your program I would not only be bringing Chemistry skills but also knowledge
of renewable energy systems. Renewable Tech has continued to strengthen my
interest and knowledge in shaping the environment. In a nutshell I am learning
how to conserve the planet’s ecosystem by decreasing carbon emissions. I am
naturally intrigued by the complexity and beauty within our world and how vital
it is that we preserve it. So far I’ve learned the fundamental
physics of Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Bio-energy. I have learned how to plan
and develop a wind farm site using software. Also, performed a lab on solar
insolation and also did a financial feasibility study of a mock solar
thermal 60 MW plant, using RETScreen Software.
My Bioenergy project was five weeks long and involved
twenty people. We looked at the production of Bio-gas from several sources.
This was quite the learning experience; the ability coordinate with twenty
people with different schedules thought me how to have organizational and
communication skills. For Geothermal energy we performed a
soil resistivity project to map soil layers up to 12 meters deep. I
was also fortunate to learn about Energy economics. For this, in a small group we
performed a life cycle analysis comparing gas/electric hybrids to CNG/petrol
hybrids based on current prices and future projections. So far these classes
have given me first-hand experience with computationally intensive problems.
Although each of my projects was a unique experience, they were all essential
parts of my education. The small victories (and the unplanned setbacks) were
invaluable in teaching me how to plan and persevere.
For the future, I want to
understand the challenges we face as humans from something much bigger than us,
so I can do something to promote a more sustainable future. I am very
interested in atmospheric and soil sciences with a direction heading towards meteorology.
direction I would be interested as for a career is the further integration of
renewable systems into the current existing systems. As I saw in the news recently,
Costa Rica went 300 days on renewable energy, excluding vehicles. My hope would
be helping my country or any other to achieve the same goal.
To conclude, I will
continue to believe in the importance of preserving the environmental ecosystem.
This preservation especially drives me to study environmental sciences in hopes
to making a difference for the environment in the near future. My goal is to
use this is degree to broaden my academic horizons, increase independence, and
shape the career pursuits. We have the ability to save the planet in spite of
ourselves. I hope very much to complete your program at Columbia University so
that I will have a state-of-the art preparation in the far-reaching scheme of
issues involved in the protection of our environment. I want greatly to have
the privilege to devote my life to searching for creative solutions that will
serve the greater harmony between mankind, animals and the earth. I thank you
for considering my application to your program.