(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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asdfjk11 wrote:Silence fell over us as our eyes followed the motions of a machine driving on the rooftop. Move to position. Install a shingle. Move to position. Install a shingle. Our robot placed rows of shingles on the roof while my palm hovered over the kill switch. The robot got to the edge of the roof and stopped on its own. We jumped with excitement. It was the perfect ending to our capstone project.
In the weeks before the final demo, nobody could have predicted our success. The professor, our classmates, and my own teammates expressed doubts about the feasibility of our project. Can a robot the size of a small carry-on bag drive on a slanted roof and nail down shingles? Is a suction cup strong enough to manipulate dozens of asphalt shingles? Is there enough time to build the first iteration of the robot, let alone time to test it and refine it?
Others feared our project was too ambitious, but we were energized by the challenge. Each of us specialized in a different area of study, so we partitioned our work accordingly to make quick progress. When one of us got stuck, we had a group meeting to resolve the issue. My background as a generalist in electrical and computer engineering became especially useful at these meetings. I took upper-level and graduate classes in several subjects outside my specialization. I drew from my experiences in these classes, and often they helped us figure out a way around our issues.
We’d meet at 6 PM and work until the lines of code started blurring together. Then we’d briefly take swigs of coffee and return to our computers. We persisted through broken parts, sleepless nights, and an increasing number of arguments to create something we would be proud of, and our sacrifices paid off. Our final demo helped us win a prize from the National Safety Council.
I thrived in engineering classes, but I was also drawn to the study of business and human behavior. While my friends dreaded the “general education” requirements that forced them to take non-technical classes, I pursued a minor in business administration. In my freshman year, I took a course on international trade and law. The attorney-turned-adjunct professor promised a simulation of the law school classroom experience, which I found interesting.
Between cold calls, case briefs, the research paper, and the final exam, the coursework was demanding but intellectually stimulating. I enjoyed reading fact scenarios, identifying legal issues, and applying appropriate legal rules. Legal reasoning and knowledge of the black letter law allowed me to understand the implications of peoples’ actions. For the next four years, I filled my schedule with classes on business law, law and economics, intellectual property, and computer technology law.
I started to approach new technologies from two orthogonal perspectives: the scientific details of how things were made, and the legal and social implications of their use. I programmed our robot to drive on the rooftop. By my design, our robot would sense its environment and learn how to drive better on its own. If the robot falls off the roof and hits someone’s head, who is responsible? The operator who failed to hit the kill switch? The manufacturer? The software developer (me)?
I devoured information about the technology behind Google’s self-driving car and Amazon’s autonomous delivery drones. But I also asked questions concerning ethics and privacy. Should a self-driving car swerve to save a pedestrian, at risk of harming the passenger? Is it ever moral to take manual control of an automated vehicle if human input is more likely to cause an accident? Should delivery drones take photos of someone’s patio or backyard for delivery confirmation?
I thrive in unraveling complex engineering systems. I want to continue to analyze and predict new innovations as a patent attorney by working with inventors and learning about progress in robotics and computer engineering. But I also want to pursue answers to the questions of liability, ethics, and privacy that inevitably arise with advancements in technology. Technology will continue to evolve and become increasingly integrated with society. Hence, addressing these issues is only possible with a strong background in both engineering and the law.
My strong academic record as an electrical and computer engineer provides a pragmatic foundation for my success in law school. Law school is naturally the next step for me.
The last sentence could be developed a little more I think. Maybe say "my strong academic record as an electrical and comp engineer coupled with my coursework in law provides..." Otherwise, all good for me.
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