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MS Bioengineering, Skin Tissue

Born and raised in Taipei Taiwan, I come from a family of high achievers that has always placed the highest emphasis on education, especially in the physical sciences. Thus, I will be completing my undergraduate studies at the University of XXX in Ann Arbor this coming April of 2009 with a major concentration in molecular cellular biology and a minor in biomedical engineering. Harvard is my first choice for graduate study in bioengineering because I want to attend the best program possible and I am especially attracted to the work of Dr. Mooney in tissue engineering. I have been groomed since infancy to take over the family cosmetic company, which I plan on transforming into a biotech company. Thus, I have a special interest in this area of study. It is also my dream to transform this business into a business that also has a humanitarian, socially conscious facet and contribute to the health and welfare of our people with very limited economic resources. I ask for your help in order to learn how to make this dream a reality.

Last year, my mother, the owner and manager of our business, had to receive a 6-month treatment for hepatitis C. That was the busiest and most fruitful time in my life. My mother could barely lift a book during the treatment, so I had no choice but to help run the company. Even though I was going to school in XXX, I managed to lead the company with an increase in revenue as well as executing plans to upgrade our factory to meet heightened industry standards all while maintaining good grades in school. This reinforced my dedication to pursuing science with an eye towards business management. I read the financial report and reviewed the conference record with a scientific approach that worked very well.

I am enormously dedicated to the field of tissue engineering, all kinds, but primarily skin tissue. This is why I am so fascinated by Dr. Mooney's research into the use of biomaterials to engineer a variety of tissue types including liver and cartilage. Liver disease is very prevalent among the Taiwanse; in fact, my mom has suffered from liver damage for over 10 years, and also she has degenerative arthritis and has endured a couple of operations on her knees. Studying tissue engineering, therefore, is close to my heart and the area of growth and expansion in which I want to move our company, especially insofar as we will then be able to contribute to saving lives and helping people who suffer from a broad range of tissue malfunctions or disfigurations. After achieving a Masters Degree, I hope to continue my studies at the doctoral level since I see participation in life saving research as my ultimate goal. My brother has completed an MBA in Japan; thus, he will be able to manage the business aspects of our enterprise while I will be free to lead the scientific and research components of our industry into the future.

I have done independent research for the past two years, and I have a paper currently in submission to the Journal of Plant Physiology. I have made great progress in English and I am enormously passionate about scientific research, with a proven track record with our family business since High School, demonstrating my leadership, communication, and technological skills by managing our business during my mother's illness, while I was a full time student. There may be other applicants with higher grades, but I have unique business and scientific experience that helps to set me apart from other applicants.

The greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to provide a new generation of health and cosmetic products distributed in the marketplace in the most humanitarian fashion possible. My dream is to transform my mother's company, helping it to grow in ways that take increasing advantage of scientific breakthroughs, especially in the area of restorative plastic surgery. While we currently sell our own products with our own brand, as well as helping to produce products for other famous cosmetic companies, I want to do much more than simple manufacturing. I plan to create our own patents, technology, and bioengineered products.

A well read and traveled Chinese woman, I look forward to contributing to the beautiful diversity of your program. I have been to national conferences in Europe France, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland as well as Japan and China, having the opportunity to learn at the conferences and study the culture and language of these places at the same time. My parents and my older brother speak Japanese and I am a beginner in this language as well.

When I worked in a research lab in Academia XXX in Taiwan during high school, I asked my research mentor to introduce me to a few cosmetics research related labs which proved to be of great benefit to both our company and the labs since the labs needed the funds and our company the help of these research teams; and I was able to serve as communicator between business and research teams. Transforming our cosmetics company into a biotech cosmetic company will help us to grow and prosper over the long term and the responsibility falls on me because I am the only person in my family who studies in this field. That is how small Asian family businesses work, we do not have enough resources to hire science or business graduates; we do almost everything ourselves. We will have the chance to hire more people only when we grow bigger.

Earning a Master's Degree in Bioengineering will provide me with the necessary tools to orchestrate the scientific advancement of our company, exposing me to the broad variety of relevant research going on in areas that pertain to our interests and long term capabilities. I hope to gain a great deal of experience in the near future in research labs and thereby have the opportunity to prove my potential to do independent research. I have worked in Dr. Pichersky's lab since my sophomore year. Prior to working in his lab, I had trouble adapting to English since almost all of my education at home was in Chinese. This is reflected by my mediocre GPA for the first year-and-a-half. Since then, however, I have become much more comfortable in English and redeem myself, and this is reflected by my being awarded the Kenneth L. Jones Award at the end of junior year. Since I entered the lab and became more sophisticated in English, I have achieved an honors GPA every semester.

Working in the lab not only elevated my GPA but has also helped me to apply my knowledge to experiments; the power point slides and cartoons suddenly become tangible. A plasmid is more than a colorful circle but a real substance that produces my target protein. It was this appreciation of textbooks and the fuller realization of the real-world purpose for studying that has driven me to conduct two years of research, although I had to stop for the second semester of my junior year to run the family business. Currently, I am writing an honor thesis that will be turned in before graduation as a final contribution to my research. I want to thank you for consideration of my application to your program.

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