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Sample Personal Statement for Medical Engineering/BioMedical Informatics

At the age of 19, millions of Chinese high school students would be battling for college admissions through a fiercely competitive nationwide entrance examination. Because of the competitiveness of the examination, half of the participants would be eliminated. In sharp contrast, by the time when I am 19 years old next year, I will graduate from one of the best universities in China. As my parents told me, I achieved a score of 190 points in an IQ test at the age of 2, which was indicative of the potential of a child prodigy. Recognizing and encouraging my special talents, my parents sent me into a special experimental class in a middle school when I was just nine. Throughout my middle and high schools, I maintained outstanding scholastic performance, winning two special prizes at the provincial-level mathematics contests. In 1999, my special aptitudes qualified me as an undergraduate at the Institute of Computer Science and Information, Hunan University. That year, I was merely 15 years old.

For me, entering university meant being exposed to a fascinating world of broad professional knowledge in which my yearning for acquiring in-depth knowledge could be satiated. I chose to specialize in computer science and information because it is a subject that poses high demands on a student’s ability in mathematics and in logical reasoning, the two areas in which I excel. My love for mathematics, plus my special talents, has enabled me to pass all the core courses in my specialty with much facility. My deep interest in mathematics has also led me to undertake some independent studies in many important courses. Therefore, besides doing excellent coursework, I have allowed my interest to come into full play.

In studying each course, I have tried to grasp its essence. For example, in learning Computational Theory, I started with the turning machine and Von Neumann Model, which made me marvel at the logical cogency embodied in those theories. However, as I delved deeper into my studies, I came to realize their inherent flaw of mechanical nature behind their logical cogency. With the latest developments of modern science such as the research in artificial intelligence, conventional theories have become infused with new vitality. I came to be interested in AI and through my study of nerve network and knowledge engineering in AI, I realized the superiority of biological intelligence in terms of logical computation over the conventional computation method based on physical circuits. What was even more exciting was that we could exploit this advantage for our own purpose through simulation based on the conventional physical circuits—the realization of artificial intelligence! In this way, we can make full use of the intelligence evolved in nature over the past billions of years. This understanding that I developed greatly stimulated my enthusiasm in studying AI and the relevant subject in biology.

Such a process replete with the joy of discovery also characterized my learning of many other important courses. For instance, in learning the course Digital Device Designing, I introduced some modification and improvements into an encoding algorithm—Des. My good scholastic foundation and my tremendous enthusiasm in coursework led to increasingly satisfactory results in my academic performance. A close examination of my academic transcript will reveal that, after some initial difficulties adapting to the new academic environment in the first year (considering the fact that I was just 15), I have been achieving top scores in virtually all the core courses in my grade.

Nevertheless, classroom education has only constituted a part of my overall education. For those courses that especially fascinate me, I have resorted to self-education as a means of increasing my knowledge both in breadth and in width. In learning “Group Theory” in Discrete Mathematics, I used the textbook Abstract Algebra that is used by students of mathematics major and read some books written by Western authors in English. In this way, I have gained a close understanding of the underlying theoretical foundation of this course in addition to becoming familiarized with its fundamental principles of application. In the course of my self-education, I have endeavored to gain knowledge not merely through (text)books. I have also attempted to obtain valuable guidance from leading experts both at home and abroad through the Internet. For example, on a specialized electronics website, I became “acquainted” with an engineer from the Bell Laboratory and through our constant exchanges he has provided me with much professional instruction and help in my specialty.

I am a person who likes to meet challenges. In order to train myself in a comprehensive manner, I took part in all the talent contests that were available to me. For instance, I participated in the Grand Contest of Mathematical Modeling for College Students Nationwide and the Mathematical Modeling Contest of American Students. In the first contest, my task was to solve problems in angiogram. Based on my research experience in this contest, I have written a treatise. In the second contest, I received Honorable Mention. Especially worth mentioning is that in the process of modeling I conducted some relatively thorough study of a problem of deciphering genetic codes. In searching for a solution to this problem, I came to realize the tremendous practical value of Bioinformatics and its huge potential of development. This constitutes the primary motivation of my choosing Bioinformatics as the specialty in my prospective degree program. Finally, I would like to call your attention to approximately a dozen of prizes that I won in various contests including the First Prize for the National English Contest for College Students and many honors I received such as one of the Ten Most Distinguished College Students of Hunan Province.

In order to apply the knowledge I have learned to realistic situations and to enhance my problem-solving skills, I participated in a research project launched by the Modern Distance Learning Technology Standard Committee of China’s Ministry of Education. In this project, I was made responsible for Task 13 & 14—the construction of mathematical models. In undertaking those two tasks, I introduced the project response theory in Bioinformatics which helped solve the problem of framing modeling standards. I have completed two research papers based on my findings in this project, one of which is entitled The Fuzzy Nerve Network for Task Model and Task Application. These two papers have been submitted to an academic journal and are expected to be published soon. I have several experiences similar to this one (please refer to my Resume for a more detailed account).

As I mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, I have been exposed to many aspects of Bioinformatics while learning computation theories and artificial intelligence. This exposure has permitted me to become aware of the close relationship between computer and biology. In addition, I have always been fascinated with biology. Those two factors have prompted me to choose bioinformatics as my area of specialization in the prospective degree program.

For four years, I have been following closely the relevant information concerning the leading research institutes in the world in the field of Bioinformatics. To the best of my knowledge, the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) affiliated to the Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) jointly launched by Harvard and MIT conducts research that is of leading standard in the world. As two top-ranking universities in the world, Harvard and MIT are the two sacred palaces of science that every student committed to a life of science naturally yearns to enter. In order to gain admission into such a sacred palace to develop myself into a well-trained scientist, I have always been concerned about the requirements necessary for applying for an advanced degree program in BIG and have tried consciously to improve myself in various aspects so that I can meet those challenging requirements. I believe that by now I have fully prepared all the necessary qualifications for applying for your prestigious university where I am ready to face the most demanding challenges. I am also convinced that my future studies would be as rewarding as they are successful.


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