We are addicted to petroleum. Estimates published by the International Energy Agency in 2009 show that current consumption will likely deplete existing fossil fuel reserves by 2099. The prices of food, clothes, gasoline, plastics, and myriad other commodities will skyrocket in the next 50 years without an optimal alternative to fossil fuels. Unfortunately, companies that develop replacements are kept afloat by paltry governmental subsidies. My career goal is to design legislation that improves industrial production of sustainable fuel sources through effective energy policy.
During the summer holidays prior to the start of my undergraduate studies, I found myself perusing the aisles of Barnes and Noble in search of a good read. My eyes spotted Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded, a seminal work addressing the urgency of halting global climate change. I immediately identified with the first chapter, “Where Birds Don’t Fly”, in which Friedman illustrates America’s fall from global leadership and proposes that pioneering green energy could restore that position. I remained fixated at my desk for the entire day, absorbing Friedman’s ideas and imagining a world that ran on clean, renewable energy. As I continued my edification about alternative energy, I learned that a practical replacement for petroleum is clean fuel derived from organisms like [organism]. My attraction towards green energy led me to an education that emphasized the molecular intricacies of biofuels in the greater context of marketability. A double major in Molecular Biology and Economics at [school] granted me the training I sought.
A few months into my undergraduate coursework, I felt the need to contextualize the material I was learning and Dr. [name]’s [organism] lab acted as a conduit to explore biofuel production at the experimental level. For nearly three years I’ve studied [my obscure organism] (hereafter, [organism]), a biofuel-producing [organism]. By understanding nutrient stress in [organism], my lab has moved closer to elucidating what fertilizers, and therefore costs, are necessary to grow feedstock strains of [organism] for biofuel production. While I understand the functioning of [organism] at a microscopic level, I also understand the workings of a research lab at a macroscopic level. The reality of research is that science moves slowly, and I realize bench-top biofuel development is an arduous process.
Along with setting a realistic timeline, conveying the relevance of scientific discovery is of paramount importance. Research projects are funded based on how effectively scientists express the importance of their research to lawmakers. As a Review Board Member of the [name] undergraduate biology research journal, I communicated advanced research to science students, faculty, and the university population at large. My journal experience was real-life training for my future as a translator of complex science into colloquial parlance so promising research is able to receive funding.
The production of biofuel is an elegant solution that science provides to the fossil fuel conundrum. However, being a resident of the entrepreneurial Silicon Valley, I've seen first-hand that a product which lacks economic viability undoubtedly dies in the open market. In an econometrics course, I measured the turnover rate of start-up biofuels companies and how much federal support they would need to stay in business. My familiarity with quantitative economic methods and cost-benefit analysis enables me to examine the economic practicality of a potential alternative fuel.
I believe it is imperative that we increase federal funding for biofuels research. According to nsf.gov, the federal government allocated a minute 4.1% of its annual federal budget to research by the National Science Foundation this past fiscal year. Fuels derived by Sapphire Energy, Inc. are proven perfect replacements for gasoline and I can only imagine the progress in alternative energy development if federal outlays increased just a few percentage points for the private and public sectors.
We cannot escape the eventuality of a world without fossil fuels. With my experience as an experimental biologist and economist, I bring a broad knowledge base and practical approach to developing new energy policy. The natural next step for me is to structure my experience in the framework of law so that I can take my vision to the legislative level. A legal education would hone my argumentative skills and put me in the position to bring forward progress to the energy policy realm.
Thank you for any and all comments
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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