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Samples of Professional Statements

Statement One | Statement Two | Statement Three | Statement Four

Professional Statement, Sample 01
Approximately two summers ago I was accepted to the Summer Pre-Graduate Research Experience (SPG RE) program offered by the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina. The program usually gives preference to rising seniors, but an exception was made in my case allowing me to attend as a junior. I was matched to a mentor, XXXXX XXXXX PhD, in the Department of Biostatistics. Professor XXXXX, knowing my limited background, introduced me to biostatistics by letting me observe his activities as a biostatistician and teaching me basic statistical analyses and techniques. Professor XXXXX introduced me to these concepts from a calculus point of view to make it applicable and easy to understand. From that initial exposure I became excited to find a field that allowed me to combine my mathematical background to the medical sciences. I was also excited to find the diverse range of research areas to which biostatisticians can apply their skill. Consequently, I was invited to participate in the program the following summer with Professor XXXXX as my mentor again. My experiences each summer were vastly different, and once again, I was attracted to the diversity of the field. The first summer, I was very inexperienced, so my responsibilities included learning basic statistical techniques, computing skills (SAS, word processing, etc.), communication skills, and completing a research project involving measurement error variability of pulmonary lung functions. However, during the second summer, I was given more responsibilities. I was one of the acting statistical consultants to a project involving violence among African American adolescents that was conducted by another student, YYYYY in SPGRE. YYYYY's mentor was Professor ZZZZZ in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC. In addition to completing our project this summer, we were responsible for teaching two new students SAS programming skills, data management, performing preliminary analysis on the larger umbrella study from which ours was drawn, and managing the progress for our own project. Even though I enjoyed both summer experiences, I found my second summer to be more invigorating than the first.

These experiences have compelled me to pursue the highest degree in biostatistics, but before entering a Ph.D. program in biostatistics I would like to begin my preparation by enrolling in a rigorous Mathematical Statistics program. By receiving a master's degree, first in Statistics, I will acquire the proper technical training to perform the duties of a biostatistician more effectively. A Statistics program will allow me to learn the techniques for conducting top statistical analyses. Finally, after receiving my Ph.D., I would like to be a statistical consultant to research projects geared toward benefiting the well being of the common man. 

Professional Statement, Sample 02Back to Top
Since sixth grade, I have had little pushes to help guide me through my educational goals. Participating in programs such as the Pre-Freshmen Engineering Program (PREP) during my 8th grade summer, Young Scholars programs during both 'fly 9th and 10th grade summers, helped me to decide early on in life what I wanted to become.

The curriculums in these programs were geared toward getting students interested in the physical, engineering, and computer sciences, particularly minority students. From participation in those programs, my interests in computer science peaked. I began to take more and more math, computer science, and technical classes; thus, preparing my way for college.

During my academic life, I was fortunate to be chosen as an intern with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. While there, summer of XXXX, I was given a project that dealt with missile defense, radar and image processing. My project was to develop algorithms and formulas using the Fast Fourier Transform method that would deconvolve radar data images taken from the atmosphere.
Summer of XXXX, again I was fortunate to go back to Lincoln Laboratory where I worked again with radar, signal processing and radar range profiles. My project was to develop a C/C++ program using the data from the radar range profiles to determine whether or not multiple targets existed within windows/frames of real-time processing.

While in school, I was part of a project in conjunction with the John C. Stennis/NASA Space Center. The project entitled "Earth Systems Science using Digital Imaging Technology" was to increase awareness of Earth Systems Science in grade school children. To complete this project, the team created a notebook/visual aid program that tested children's knowledge of Earth Systems Science.

This last project was a great joy to me. I thoroughly enjoyed creating something that helped young children to better understand the sciences. It is one of my dreams to help in the plight of education for our young generations, especially minority children. Sometimes I visit my old high school, and I have noticed how uninterested the students are about school. I think that bringing technology into the schools can help that and I wish to be a part of that movement. I know it can help them, because it helped me to get through school and then become the person I am today. 

Professional Statement, Sample 03Back to Top
I first became interested in Statistics the summer after my sophomore year. As a rising junior, I was accepted into the Summer Pre-Graduate Research Experience (SPGRE) program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which gave priority to rising seniors. I had the honor of working under Professor in the Department or Biostatistics. Since I had not been exposed to a course in either probability or statistics, the summer was a learning experience as well as a research experience. We covered basic topics in probability and statistics, and I was exposed to the statistical programming language 545. I also had the chance to attend meetings to get a feel for the type of communication skills a biostatistician needs. We wrote a research paper entitled "Measuring measurement error variability in pulmonary lung function tests." After that nurturing and educational experience, I jumped at the opportunity to come back the following summer.

Last summer was as enjoyable and provided a different experience. I was able to complete a four day, sixteen hour SAS course conducted by SAS Institute. I was also able to play the roll of a biostatistician on a research team. Our team, made of four biostatisticians and one sociologist, presented our research entitled "Factors predictive of gender differences in violent behaviors among African-American adolescents." From the combined experiences of the two summers, I like the idea of having many different projects in which to conduct statistical analysis. It invites the excitement of learning new things with each project.

From the Statistics program, I expect to gain a strong background in statistical theory and techniques for conducting advanced statistical research. These skills will be an important tool in pursuing my goal of becoming an effective research biostatistician. After receiving a Ph.D. in Biostatistics, I hope to pursue an academic appointment at an institution of higher learning.

Professional Statement, Sample 04Back to Top
During the summer of XXXX, I was an intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I worked on an assignment, which consisted of Statistical Analyses of Radiation Data. Raw data for this experiment was comprised of radiation measurements in the form of neutrons and gamma rays. The purpose of the experiment was two-fold. First, measurements of radiation were taken using a radiation detector over various positions on the body of a phantom (simulation of a human being) by various experimentalists. This was done to detect how much radiation a person might receive given the distance and position of the individual regarding the nuclear reaction, which may have occurred. The second purpose of the experiment and perhaps the one of most concern to the scientific community was the use of a system for calculations. Measured data was used to benchmark the Monte Carlo Adjoint Shielding code system (MASH, Version 1.0). This system was used to calculate radiation data. The same control variables used in the field experiment were programmed into the computer system and the output was recorded as "calculated radiation doses".

My personal contributions to this highly interesting and practical experiment were nothing short of important. I collected the recorded measurements and calculations in the form of raw data and translated the material into a form, which could be better understood by the general public. Averages, standard deviations, and ratios were calculated to decide if MASH could replace a current, system used to estimate radiation effects inside armored vehicles and other shielded configurations of interest to the military. The results of my statistical analyses have been published and I am coauthor of three publications regarding similar experiments. The following summer, I interned with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. While there, I was introduced to the concept of parallel programming. The group I worked with, the Massively Parallel Computing Group (MPCG), works on parallelizing codes on a variety of massive parallel processors (MPP's). The parallel process involves the use of multiple processors to solve a problem; the serial process uses only one processor to complete a problem. Provided that the data are independent, a serial code may be converted to a parallel code. A code written in parallel allows the processors to work on a large number of data items simultaneously.

Specifically, I worked on programming a mathematical procedure used to solve equations with multiple unknowns, known as Gaussian Elimination. This technique for solving equations may very easily be done manually provided that the dimensions of the matrix are n6t too large. Naturally, the complexity of the problem increases as the dimensions of the matrix increase. To avoid unnecessary manual labor, a code was written in FORTRAN to solve an N-by-N matrix using the Gaussian Elimination procedure. To lower the execution time, the serial code was converted to a parallel code. The parallel code was written in the translating language of Parallel FORTRAN Preprocessor (PFP). Translating from a serial code to a parallel code required a different type of logic. For example, a single processor in a serial code would normally execute the nested do loops of FORTRAN. However, with a massively parallel machine such as the BBN TC2OOO, many processors may be instructed to execute the code. It could be see that the parallel code, which was ran on ten processors, competed the task in less time than the serial code. The parallel code would be completed in even less time had the number of processors be increased.

This past summer I conducted research with a group of environmental scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The general purpose of the project was to develop a conceptual framework and associated simulation model to evaluate the regulatory capabilities of an individual fish to compensate for anthropogenic disturbance. The regulation of energy allocation by an individual fish is the primary focus of the project. Based on specific environmental factors, such as temperature and photoperiod, an individual fish was tracked through a 52-week time period. With the help of specific programming tools, the "optimal policy" can be identified and thus used in the forward simulation model. To successfully conduct this experiment with valid data, a forward simulation model was written in FORTRAN. Throughout the stated time period, a fish encountered various environmental conditions such as predation, a range of food availability, and (in the case of streams) flow. Reproduction occurs at the end of the 52-week period, and reproductive value (i.e. fitness) is calculated for each possible pathway. To best approach the stated project, a dynamic program (DP) was written. This mathematical technique provides a systematic procedure to generate an optimal combination of decisions. The DP evaluates each possible combination of decisions for any fish. Starting with terminal time, T, the DP works backwards to find the optimal decision for each time period. Hence, the "optimal policy" is generated by considering every decision path or policy and selecting the particular policy which maximizes the reproduction value.

From the DP output, which also includes non-optimal policies, a "look-up table" was created as an external file to be used with the simulation model. The table consisted of all possible decisions any fish could make within the constraints of the given parameters. Due to the nature of the program, we decided to use the concept of direct accessing. During this procedure, certain information was recorded about the distribution of energy'. Observations were made about whether or not the fish made any optimal decisions or if the fish followed "the" optimal policy At the end of the forward simulation the energy content of the gonad compartment and the probability of survival was evaluated and a conclusion was formed regarding the success of reproduction. Hence, the experiment was conducted without the use of "live" specimen. Also, specifics of the model may be altered so as to fit the particulars of any species.

Presently as a graduate student, I am conducting mathematical analyses for my Master's Thesis in the field of heat transfer. I am working with high ordered mathematical equations to determine the efficiency of a cylindrical spine. As a research tool, I have written a FORTRAN program to solve gamma functions and hypergeometric functions. Basically, my goal is to find the cylindrical spine that rejects heat at the given rate from a base at a given temperature. The mode of heat transfer from the cylindrical spine surface is convective. My mentor XXXXX, will ultimately publish the results of the analyses in a book.

Upon completion of the five year Office of Naval Research (ONR) BS/MS program in mathematics at Clark Atlanta University, I hope to attend North Carolina State University in the fall of XXXX. I plan to enroll in a Ph.D. program where 1 will study applied mathematics with a focus in operations research. My objective at North Carolina State University is to strengthen my confidence and skills in identifying, approaching and ultimately solving an array of specific research problems.
The mathematics graduate program at North Carolina State University has a wide spectrum of government laboratory/industry collaborations. The link with Martin Marietta in environmental restoration is of particular interest to me because I have interned at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is operated by Martin Marietta Energy Systems (MMES), for two summers. During the summer of XXXX, I analyzed radiation data; this past summer, I worked with a team of environmental scientists and a computer programmer on an energy allocation model; each being a project in environmental science. Thus, I hope to continue this relation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory when I enter North Carolina State University.
By concentrating primarily in applied mathematics, I hope to sharpen my analytical skills. With a minor concentration in operations research, I will apply my developed skills to specific optimization problems in various fields requiring human decision-making. Although I wish to someday work with a team as an applied mathematician, my ultimate career goal is to teach and conduct research at the university level. I also possess a strong interest in the recruitment of minorities in mathematics and other related fields.
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