The personal statement, limited to 2 pages, should provide a brief description of:
Your academic and professional accomplishments.
Your overall career goals and specific goals in pursuing the M.S. Program.
Your preferences for concentration tracks within the M.S. Program. Any other information that you feel can help us evaluate your potential to succeed in the program.
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was earning my two STEM college degrees in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, despite the fact that the life took a different direction. Circumstances made achieving this accomplishment harder than I expected, and as the result it took me more than four years to finish college, but, today, I can proudly say “I did it.” At one time, all life circumstances seemed to be against me: Just after coming to the US with my mother, I lost my brother and father from cancer within two-years period. My mother, not able to speak English, was forced to return to our home country. I had to take everything into my hands, left alone in US. I resolved to face life’s obstacles unafraid, to fight them, and to start and finish school. There was period I had to work two jobs to support myself and pay for university without loans. Just immigrating to the US, I started as housekeeper, not knowing English. Today, I am graduating my second STEM bachelor degree. The main thing is not to give up. As Warren Buffett said the main predictor of success is determination. If we make 1% of 100% of the goal, or one small step towards the dream every day, we will eventually succeed. Even if it takes longer than expected to accomplish it.
Enrolled at the CUNY Baruch College, I experienced a different world opening up to me. Excited by a new encouraging environment, I tried my best to excel academically as well to get experience outside of academic environment. Having internships during afternoon free time from school, I also worked evenings to pay for school and other living necessities. Despite the struggles, I moved steadily forward. I always keep in mind my father, who was my best friend. I want him to be proud of me, if he is looking down upon me. He was an engineer, mathematician, and astrophysicist. As well I am inspired by my mother, who is a chemist and engineer. Having life turmoils at times made me feel like giving up. Yet, I learned stand up back again and continue work hard. The benefit of this lesson is reflected in my accomplishments in internships. During Standard and Poor’s internship I overcame fear of communication and managed to increase my department’s profits. During CUNY Code internship, we were tasked to build an Android app starting in a 7-person team. The team faced a setback losing 3 people within a week. To overcome this loss, remaining team members all learned both front and back end app development. We supported each other, picking up whoever felt down. We successfully presented our app at the end of the program.
With a lifelong passion for science, specifically astronomy and mathematics, getting an education in the US opened a world of opportunity to me. I had no access to the computers in my country of origin. They were too expensive. We worked on solving problems and learning using olden days’ methods: the paper, the pen and time. When I immigrated to US, I was able to buy first my laptop. Later, in university in the US, I discovered how astonishingly easy it was to solve science, mathematics, and statistics problems by learning C++ with Professor Pickens, Python with Professor Mohan, and R for data mining with Professor Lawrence. Professor Mohan especially contributed to my programming learning, inspiring me program every day. At the beginning, it was hard to make programming my hobby, but today I independently learn new languages. I was intrigued how easy programming makes a scientist’s life. Doing more programming be it for class, independent study or internship, I discovered more opportunities like machine learning, NLP, AI. These scientist tools have the potential to enhance our contributions to society: predict events, and facilitate positive change and save lives. AI, machine learning, NLP opens doors to new horizons. As Sunita Williams said, we have a plan to get to Mars, and now it’s our part to contribute to this plan, our generation. With development of AI we can make it faster. We can detect cancer earlier at a stage when treatment will save a life. With AI, we can perhaps perform surgeries without a surgeon standing next to the patient. Life-saving treatment could become accessible to millions more people.
My focus as an undergraduate has always been with an eye towards pursuing graduate school, a Ph.D. program, research and ultimately a STEM career. I am enthusiastic to attend a Master of Computer Science with AI/machine learning/NLP concentration, because of its necessity in each industry today. My passion is to constantly learn new skills and programming languages. For the past few years, I have used books like Machine Learning with R and Machine Learning with Python, TensorFlow or Udacity courses like Deep Learning. At Columbia University, I would be able to pursue my interests with access to world class faculty to help me explore cutting edge, intriguing facets of computer science. High education standards, distinguished computer science faculty and world-class research facilities are the factors motivating me to pursue my M.Sc. studies at Columbia University.
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