This personal statement is part of this student’s successful admission to the University of Cambridge for Chemical Engineering. Due to anonymity reasons, he/she does not wish to have his other offers revealed.
They say it’s the small things in life that we must treasure and that indeed is the case with Chemistry. Every single nano-scale particle matters. Such is the beauty of Chemistry, and by extension its industrial application, Chemical Engineering. I am keen to study Chemical Engineering because I believe its work has a widespread impact on global society and the environment, with the field of renewable and green energy playing an ever more important role.
In lower sixth I wrote a research paper on hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen vehicles, where I examined the chemical workings of hydrogen cells and their green emissions – water only. I have also looked for ways to manufacture the hydrogen needed for these fuel cells in a clean way, finding artificial photosynthesis and electrolysis with photovoltaic cells attractive solutions. I made a presentation for Cypark Resources Berhad while studying in high school, where I was able to learn about their solar plants and crystalline photovoltaic cells. I obtained a distinction in an Organic Photovoltaic Cells course by the Technical University of Denmark, where I explored their cheap costs, flexibility, and easy deployment.
Coming from a state that relies heavily on oil and its by-products, I believe Malaysia’s dependence on non-renewables can be reduced with photovoltaic cells, and in turn with hydrogen manufacture. With abundant sunshine, the efficiency of photovoltaic cells deployed here will be far more consistent than in seasonal countries. Besides that, having a booming oil and gas industry also helps the hydrogen economy and our fossil fuels provide a valuable alternative to producing hydrogen. We can use our fossil fuels for steam reformation processes, converting our rich natural reserves into hydrogen fuel and taking us one step closer to the hydrogen future. The convenient installation of organic solar cells will also bring down the industrial costs, paving the way for widespread hydrogen infrastructure. In future, perhaps nuclear fusion will provide green energy as per Michio Kaku’s “Physics of the Future”.
In secondary school, the simple explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, when lit with a burning splinter, ignited my interest in the subject. I find interactions between various chemicals absorbing, especially when such reactions have a large impact on how we live our daily lives. Propene, for example, is dangerous and flammable but when polymerised, becomes the lid of Tic-Tac boxes. A-Levels have taught me how the steam reformation of methane in Chemistry, which produces hydrogen for the Haber Process can be applied to Malaysia’s fossil fuels to generate hydrogen. Physics, on the other hand, has exposed me to semiconductors and their photoelectric properties, and how this is applied in photovoltaic cells. The theory of electron-hole pairs and photo-excitation of electrons is applicable even to organic photovoltaic cells. Mathematics complements this by rounding out my knowledge with the crucial skills synonymous with an engineer’s work.
Outside the classroom, I am President of my college’s Debate Union, and represented my college at an International Debating Championship in 2014. I was also selected for the State Debate Team in 2012 and was Head Prefect of my high school, where I introduced a Regulations booklet, endorsed by the headmistress during my tenure. I speak English, Chinese and Malay, and feel that the leadership, soft skills and languages I learned will complement my skills as an engineer, especially in a global working environment where interaction and communication are increasingly important. I am a Grade 7 classical guitarist and have composed two original piano pieces, one of which I have performed at a college concert.
I believe my academic track record, research, and co-curricular activities have prepared me to pursue a Chemical Engineering degree at a prestigious UK university, to bring the future closer to us; and make it happen.
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