Ivy Application Written Responses: The “Engineering Statement”
1. Why are you interested in studying engineering?
Engineering combines the theory and application of math and physics, the two technical areas in which I have the most ability and interest. Engineering, therefore, provides a forum for my science and math skills that could result in a development that could change the world in some practical way. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, the verse I might contribute could affect the outcome of the play.
Projects I’ve worked on in AP Physics and, most notably, the course Concepts of Modern Physics at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences have drawn me to engineering. Seemingly simple challenges like designing a shock mitigation device to protect an egg dropped from 15 meters, a basswood bridge designed to bear heavy loads, or a mousetrap-powered vehicle have fascinated me and satisfied my innate desire to solve practical problems creatively.
2. Briefly describe any particular experiences you have had that are related to engineering or that led you to have an interest in one or another field of engineering.
The most significant event that has led me to engineering has been my involvement with the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (PGSS), which I attended this past summer at Carnegie Mellon University. I had full-blown college courses in discrete mathematics, computer science, molecular biology, the philosophy of science, chemistry, physics, art and science, and a team project. Our team project–The Establishment and Analysis of Chaos in a Forced Duffing Oscillator–was in physics and examined the order present in seemingly chaotic patterns. I also performed special studies of mechanical and electrical-circuit resonance. For five, intensive weeks we studied, wrote, analyzed, reported, learned, and laughed. I loved it.
I have included with this Engineering Statement a copy of the PGSS Course Descriptions document with courses I took highlighted. (See Attachment 3.) Also attached is a copy of the team physics project mentioned above. The copy provided here has not yet been edited for publication in the Journal of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences, in which it will appear in the near future. I have provided a copy of the Preface to the Class Journal by Dr. Peter Bergmyer, University Director of PGSS. He gives an overview of PGSS and team projects. (See Attachment 4.)
3. How do you think the program in engineering at HYPer might suit your particular interests?
You asked me elsewhere in this application what I expect to gain from my college experience. I said I wanted a first-class program that allowed me to indulge my passions for engineering sciences and literature. That’s exactly how I see HYPer Engineering suiting my interests. It’s the balance of the program I like. The humanities and social science requirements comprise almost 20 percent of the B.S.E. program. I truly want to pursue engineering in college; I wouldn’t be offended, though, if my School of Engineering associates thought of me as a poet.
Another factor has to be HYPer’s faculty and physical resources. My parents and I took an unofficial tour of the Engineering Quad on a sunny Saturday morning last August. The Quad buildings were empty and quiet, which gave me the chance to peer unnoticed through lab door windows and into lecture rooms and faculty offices. The overwhelming impression was that of being somewhere important, where things of consequence happen. Call it a spirit of greatness. Whatever it is, it kept prompting me during our long drive home. My needs would be met here.