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Statement critique

Posted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:00 pm
by uhurulol
*Updated 11/17*

Hi everyone. So I've heard the statement can really make or break an app, and I really wanna make sure I nail it. Below is my first rough draft. Please let me know what you think, what changes I may want to make, and if I should just scrap it all together and start over (please let me know if this is the case! I'd rather get it right than be lazy!)


On the day of my first physics lecture at my university, I approached my professor, Dr.\ ------ -----, and told him about my interest in the cosmos. I had done my research; I knew before hand, of course, that he was an accomplished astronomer. He offered to take on the role of my academic advisor on that day. I told him from the start that my mind had been made up; I wanted to be an astronomer, and no other career would suffice. As any good advisor should, he cautioned me of the imperfections of such a career -- relentless hours, less-than-convenient traveling, mediocre pay... the list went on. But any time I spoke with him about astronomy I saw a familiar sparkle in his eye, and I grew ever more confident in the path I had chosen.

A couple years went by and Dr.\ ----- finally landed a huge National Science Foundation grant for his own optical interferometry research. I met with him in his office on the first day of that semester and he asked me to be a part of his team -- a request which I enthusiastically accepted. Since then I have been aiding the team in programming and testing simulations, measuring data against real world scenarios, and preparing to test Dr.\ -----'s hypothesis with powerful equipment the team has recently obtained. Further funding has allowed us to make substantial progress on our research, and if we're correct, we will have discovered a way to make optical interferometry mobile, cost-effective, and more powerful than we ever thought it could be.

Still, the task of constructing such an interferometer itself is not enough -- the question remains of what we will use the instrument for. It is my understanding that even just a couple decades ago, the overwhelming consensus on the existence of exoplanets was that if they did exist then they \textit{must} exist only in single star systems. As I'm sure you're aware, the consensus has changed dramatically since then, as we've discovered that nearly 50\% of all exoplanets reside in binary systems. While we expect that our research will be utilized by many astronomers across the globe for various purposes, our goal is to use it to study binary star systems and continue the ongoing hunt for extrasolar worlds. Within a few months I will have a publication regarding our research, and shortly after I will be traveling to Kitt Peak National Observatory to put our instrument to the test. Two 25-inch telescopes are being built for us as I type this, and by next summer we expect to convert the SCSU campus into the largest optical interferometer the world has ever seen. My work with our team will continue until the day I begin my Ph.D.\ program, and I expect to utilize the invaluable experience I've gained with this team in my graduate career and beyond.

In addition to my research with Dr.\ -----, my senior capstone research has already begun, and I will continue working on it through the spring. I will be spending the remainder of my time at SCSU with Dr.\ ---- -------, scouring databases from surveys such as 2MASS and WISE in search of stars that may be part of former globular clusters that have been torn apart by the gravity of the Milky Way. Recent observations of over 9,000 RR Lyrae stars has allowed us to use them as standard candles, and, using the data from the these surveys, categorize potential ex-cluster candidates. It is my hope that working with Dr.\ ------- on this project will help to further broaden my research abilities and experiences, laying the groundwork for my career to come. After I finish the capstone research and graduate in May, I will spend the rest of the summer on my interferometry research, and continue to prepare myself for graduate school.

I am fortunate enough to have done research in my undergraduate studies that is applicable to what I hope to research in my future career, and particularly in my graduate studies. My aforementioned research advisor, Dr.\ -----, has been a friend and colleague of Dr.\ --------------- for quite some time -- as such, he directed me to the University of Delaware and her profile. Many fields of astronomical research interest me greatly, but one field in particular -- the hunt for exoplanets -- strikes me as particularly intriguing. Dr.\ ---------------'s research on exoplanets and planetary formation is something I would be quite interested in being a part of. As I have studied both high-resolution stellar imaging and stellar properties, my research experience thus far is ideal for exoplanetary research. I must also mention that I have several other significant areas of interest, most notably galactic structure and extragalactic research and exotic astrophysical subjects such as black holes and gamma-ray bursts. University of Delaware studies all of these subjects in great detail, and I am certain I would find many opportunities within your diverse community of researchers.

Specifics regarding my career aside, in general, I believe you will find me to be a great person to work with. I do my best thinking within the company of like-minded individuals, and I appreciate the value of teamwork as much as anyone I know. I want to work together with a group of astronomers who share the same mindset as myself, because I know I can contribute great things to this field. I've never really cared for anything as much as the prospect of discovering something new of my very own. A wise professor once told me that the greatest feeling in the world is seeing that ``squiggly line on the screen'' for the first time, and knowing you're the first person to have ever seen it. It's a sentiment I've had in my mind ever since. The idea that we're so small, so pale in comparison to the grander picture that is our universe is incredible in itself, and yet we can learn so much just from that squiggly line. More than anything, I want to find my own squiggly line -- and many, many more after that.

Re: Can you help critique my Statement?

Posted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:22 pm
by Yourself
I'm not an expert, but the last paragraph sounds like cliché filler to me. The rest sounds very good. 'Beforehand' is one word.

Re: Can you help critique my Statement?

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:35 pm
by uhurulol
Thanks for the advice. Re-reading it now the last paragraph does seem a bit cliche, I'm just trying to come up with something perhaps a teensy bit dramatic to make me seem like a more personable human being. If you have any suggestions on that front, please let me know =)

Re: Statement critique

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:48 am
by uhurulol
Anyone else willing to take a shot at it?

Re: Statement critique

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:31 am
by uhurulol
Hi everyone, giving this one more go. I've updated it with what I think to bet he last draft before I give it to my professors for final edits. It'd be great to hear what any of you think.