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Each morning, I enter the lab, slip into my gloves, and the world outside melts away. Six years ago, I began my academic career as a summer student at the Center for Cancer Research and Cell Biology. The unparalleled experience during my summer internship fueled by interest and curiosity has helped me understand who I am and what I want to do for the rest of my life. I was paired with a postdoctoral fellow who taught me fundamental laboratory skills as I focused on validating targets of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System in CML using qRT-PCR. As a result of my tireless daily contribution, I had an opportunity to present my work through a poster and was invited by the department chair to complete my thesis in his lab. For the first time, I had imagined the academic possibilities available outside of my comfort zone and was captivated! This captivation led to my completion of a thesis in which I expanded my laboratory skills and honed my scientific thinking, speaking, and writing. I graduated at the top of my class in Biomedical Science and went on to complete my medical prerequisites.

During my studies, I realized that science was now a part of me and that I missed life in lab. My constant desire to expand the scientific knowledge pushed me to pursue a master’s degree in translational medical research. While my bachelor’s thesis established a solid scientific foundation, my master’s was centered on scientific perseverance and ownership of that process. Every step—from preparing buffers to testing tumor cell lines to cutting, staining, and imaging sections—was performed with my hands. I achieved a new level of autonomy in the lab designing and performing experiments to answer my scientific questions.

A pivotal moment came when we knocked out a gene in a mouse model of carcinoma thought to be “pro-metastatic” based on our in-vitro data. We unexpectedly observed an increase in metastases and decreased survival, suggesting a more complex role for the gene than previously thought. From this specific experience, I learned to appreciate how much we do not know. Additionally, the exhilarating thought of my contribution to science has always driven me to ask for more as I have witnessed excellent collaborations and different projects during my research years. Science was no longer outside of my comfort zone—and I was eager to experience more. Recently, I have had the opportunity to build on this foundation and work independently on projects focused on lymphoid malignancies.

Since that initial internship six years ago, my mind has been irreversibly stretched. I have found my inspiration to continue my contribution to science as the laboratory experiences have taught me how to be an independent scientist, how to create procedural methodology and contribute to a larger body of knowledge. I am eager to pursue MD/PhD training and to dedicate my life humbly facing the unknown with the hope of contributing to science which has already given me so much.

What makes this essay great:

  • This statement also begins with an interesting anecdote that creates a desire within the reader to continue further into the story. Through chronological storytelling, the statement is easy to follow and we see the student's journey in determining that both medicine and research are necessary in their life.
  • The student does a good job of highlighting accomplishments, such as their contribution to a poster, the invitation to complete their thesis, and graduating at the top of their class, without coming across as boastful.
  • The conclusion neatly ties together the main points of the entire statement while circling back around to the discussion in the opening paragraph.

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