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Sample Statement of Purpose for Environmental Engineering

If life may be compared with a race without a definite destination, every goal one has attained will only begin the pursuit of another. By doing so, we enrich our own lives, and those of others.

However, as an engineer at thirty years of age, I need to do a little persuasion to myself to start an academic life again. It might be a process full of difficulty and challenges. But my character and my past experience have convinced me that my life would be better with these challenges than without.

During my undergraduate years I was a major in Food Engineering. Though my grades were among the top ten percent, and I received a scholarship two times, I did not have truly outstanding performance. But besides some general knowledge, what I gained from my college education was a major self-discovery----I was in fact not interested in Food Science, but in Environmental Protection and Improvement.

With this self-discovery I entered the graduate program in Applied Chemistry at Beijing Industrial and Commercial University. The three-year period of my graduate study was like a race with time. To me, the course work, however demanding, was the greatest source of fun. I was deeply attracted to courses like Chemical Engineering and Chemical Reaction Kinetics, because they provided powerful tools to treat environmental problems. Because of my diligence and my love for this subject of learning, I remained a student of top-ranking GPA in the class, and won the Scholarship of the First Class for three consecutive years. In my thesis"A Study of the Applications of Titanium Dioxide as a Semiconductive Photochemical Catalyst in the Degradation of Wastewater," I targeted the traditional separating process in treating wastewater, which often resulted in secondary pollution. As an alternative, I proposed a new method of treatment without secondary pollution. After much library research, I decided to use titanium dioxide as the semiconductive photochemical catalyst. Titanium dioxide, however, needs be excited by near ultraviolet rays, since its catalytic effects are quite low within the range of visible light. To solve this problem, I applied special modifiers through doping with iron, which significantly enhanced the catalytic effects of titanium dioxide. The thesis was well received by experts in the field.

After completing my Master's degree, I became an engineer in the Institute of Environmental Protection of China Petrolchemicals Inc., a position I have held up to the present time. In the past few years, I have been involved in a number of major projects of wastewater treatment. In 1999, I participated in a project designed to renovate the biochemical devices of a wastewater treatment factory under a chemical engineering company in Zhejiang Province. This project enabled me to develop a deep and concrete understanding of the industrial process of wastewater treatment. In this project, I conducted in-depth analysis of the entire process of biochemical treatment and, by introducing important modifications into the existing system, I helped to significantly improve effect of water treatment. From May to October 2000, I was responsible for the debugging of the workshop that conducts biochemical treatment of the epoxy propane wastewater for a chemical engineering plant in Nanjing City. In November, I participated in another biochemical treatment project of a chemical fiber factory. In this project, I encountered many technical problems. With detailed research and extensive consultation of technical literature, I finally discovered the optimum solution to them. In November last year, I became the leader of a research group on electrocatalysis and oxidation in treating hard-to-separate sewage. My work in those and other projects has made it possible for me to accumulate relatively rich experience in both the theory and the technology of wastewater treatment. In May this year, I was honored as one of the Four Outstanding Youths at the Beijing Institute of Chemical Industry, which is affiliated to China Petrolchemicals.

During all these years of work and research, I have become keenly aware of the urgency of environmental issues, especially for a country like China. Among all the issues, the wastewater problem might be the worst. Partly because of the lack of adequate public attention and appropriate government legislation and policy in the past decades, wastewater treatment in China becomes far behind developed countries. After all the first-hand work experience and library research on the technical literature, I am convinced that studying in a graduate degree program in an advanced country, such as the United States, will be the best way for me to find the most effective way to treat environmental issues, in China, and in the world.

Although I am already 30 years old, an age at which a man is expected to have become well-established in his career, I have never felt so young, because my sense of the purpose and meaning of my life has become so much clearer than a few years ago. With a background of formal education in Applied Chemistry and rich work experience behind me, and, above all, with an unswerving dedication to Environmental Science and Technology, I shall be able to compete effectively in a graduate program of my chosen field abroad. I am, at this moment, very anxious to enter this new phase of my life's journey.


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