Why I Want to Pursue a Career in Biomedical Research?

I am compelled to question everything. Even with facts that have been scientifically proven and that I know are true, like the importance of vaccines or the Earth being round, I am not satisfied simply knowing the information. I want to know why. I still want to see the evidence even if I agree with the conclusion. At one point it was an accepted fact that the earth was flat, and it was not until somebody argued otherwise that we learned the truth: Earth is a globe. Prior to germ theory, doctors agreed that diseases were caused by imbalanced humors or the “miasma.” Science is fundamentally about questioning the world around us, but many facts are still just taken for granted and their explanations are not routinely questioned. I am curious about everything, from random trivia to relevant and cohesive matters like cancer treatment. Since starting college, I have had the opportunity to learn about professors’ research, which was how I started working on a project on cell interactions with nanomaterials to improve chemotherapy drug delivery and efficacy. It is the type of narrow topic that I enjoy studying because of the layers of complexity and multiple facets of the project, but it is also a practical application of my efforts because I am working to improve other people’s lives and not just following a personal whim. Spending months working in a laboratory may not be as immediately satisfying as a couple of days searching the internet, but even the mundane and frustrating aspects are outweighed by the familiar sensation of excitement and accomplishment that follows a successful experiment with conclusive results. This constant drive to learn more is why I have been doing research since freshman year, it is why I spend my school breaks in the lab working on my research, and it is why I jumped at the opportunity to study at the Trudeau Institute to do research full-time for a semester. Most importantly, it is why I want to pursue a career in biomedical research. I cannot imagine a career that is more personally fulfilling to my inquisitive nature while also serving the altruistic purpose of improving peoples’ lives. It is this prospect that motivates me to work every day and consistently make progress. However, there have been times when it seemed like I would never be able to achieve these goals. Although both of my parents have bachelor’s degrees now, when I was growing up, they were less well educated and lacked stable employment, and as a result I was never encouraged to pursue academics. We moved across the country several times to a new job or to stay with relatives while we got back on our feet, which disrupted my primary education because of different state standards, mid-year moves, and the stress of always being new. When I started high school, we settled down and my future prospects began to stabilize. I realized the importance of college for achieving the kind of success I was beginning to value. I devoted myself to attending college, but I faced another barrier of having limited resources. My high school, where the average class size was 30 students, had few college-credit bearing classes, all of which I took. Except for the sports teams, the school clubs existed in name only. Beyond that, I had to create my own opportunities for extracurricular activities, like volunteering at my local hospital, and for taking rigorous courses. By my junior year, I knew I was ready for more than my school had to offer, so I enrolled in The Clarkson School (TCS) where I could start college a year early. Attending TCS gave me the chance to further develop my interests in a supportive environment, whereas before I only had myself to rely on for motivation. Even though I am in college now, I still face barriers to success. Sometimes I worry that I will not be able to afford the tuition and my education will be disrupted again. Since I was old enough, I have worked to save for college, and besides the financial aid I receive, I pay all of my expenses out of my pocket. During the semester, I must work in order to sustain myself, which takes valuable time that I could be using for my studies or my research. The effect of my parents’ lack of education has given me an appreciation for it and has made me dedicated to finishing school on time. I want to learn as much as I can and apply my investigative skills in a constructive manner, but I can only do that with enough support and funding because of my financial need.