MIT Admitted Essays #12

Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below (100 word limit).

I come from a Christian Protestant background and attended Quaker meetings through childhood. Classical music has long been my source of spiritual inspiration (and is listed as my religion on Facebook), but I am interested in learning more about Zen Buddhism and exploring other faiths.

I am an environmentalist enthusiast with feminist tendencies who adores downhill skiing and seafood even though I’m from the Midwest, and who can do 14 pull-ups even though I’m female. I see myself as a burgeoning philosopher in the old sense, because I strive for wisdom by contemplating and discussing ideas. I identify as an optimist, a musician, and an academic.

What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you’d like to tell us about. (*) (200-250 words)

I am most proud of my flexibility because I developed it through my own enterprise. Initially, years of gymnastics competition showed me that flexibility was required to overcome the tendency to allow one mistake from negatively affecting the entire meet. By the time I was competing at YMCA Nationals, I had developed the mental flexibility to master this resiliency: I executed a 1st Place beam routine after a bars score below my standard.

Over the years, I advanced my flexibility so that I could work in-depth with a number of personalities and demands from the academic, musical, social, and athletic worlds. I continue developing mental elasticity most by interacting with quartet members in rehearsal and performance. As first violinist, I lead our ability to work with inconsistencies that occur from performance to performance. For example, when the cellist takes more time with a ritard, I spontaneously mesh that rubato with the quartet’s tempo and the melody’s sound quality in the next phrase.

My flexibility has also been invaluable academically. At Woods Hole camp, I was excited to wake for B Watch’s 4am marine sample collection and analysis because I was able to adopt the boat’s schedule quickly. Similarly, I rapidly and successfully transitioned to MNTL’s engineering community. Though it is more professional, experienced, and male than I was accustomed to, my flexibility allows me to create ideas, recognize issues, ask questions, and resolve many of them on my own.

(Optional) No admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think additional information or material will give us a more thorough impression of you, please respond below.

At MNTL, I developed and presented my own microfluidic chip prototype, which combines malarial detection and species differentiation with the LOC group’s design-in-testing. First, a deterministic lateral displacement array separates whole blood into white blood cells (WBCs) and red blood cells (RBCs). WBCs are flowed through either a CD4 or CD8 antigen-lined capture chamber, and electrodes count impedance pulses to give HIV/AIDs prognosis through CD4+/CD8+ T-cell enumeration. RBCs are lysed to release individual parasites, since whole, infected RBCs cannot be captured because parasite-derived proteins are either submembranous or vary the antigen expressed on the RBC surface. Individual parasites are then captured and detected via fluorescent labeling instead of impedance spectroscopy, since current impedance technologies cannot accurately differentiate the small parasites from RBC membrane remnants in the lysate.

I have traveled internationally to [XXX list of countries]. I hope to study abroad in France during college.

I have been involved with a few other summer volunteer opportunities: [XXX list].

I would also like to mention my recognition in 8th grade as one of the four members on the 4th Place Team in the State MathCounts Competition.

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