Environmental Solutions and Semiconductors: Research Interests and Career Goals

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In summary, the best advice the person gave me was to write my statement chronologically, like past personal stories, what have I done in the current institution, the research I want to do, and future goal. However, after googling sample REU statements, they tell me otherwise. So I am bit confused, what I should do? And please give me more advice on this statement. Another big problem I actually got an F in vec calc due to some family issues, what should I write to recover this?
  • #1
I wrote a SOP, looking for some advice. Also I asked someone for suggestion, he told that I should write my statement chronologically, like past personal stories, what have I done in the current institution, the research I want to do, and future goal. However, after googling sample REU statements, they tell me otherwise. So I am bit confused, what I should i do? And please give me more advice on this statement. Another big problem I actually got an F in vec calc due to some family issues, what should I write to recover this? I really want to emphasize this, because this F drag my GPA so much, once I retake this course next year, my GPA will become fine again, but this is the last chance for me to apply for REU( I am a junior).

Thanks in advance.

Here it is.

The best overarching theme for my research interests is to study the electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of crystalline materials, while also to design and to optimize semiconductors for electronic devices, therefore to achieve the idea of environmental benignity. As a hardware enthusiast, one of my biggest hobbies is to assemble and disassemble a computer from CPU, video card, and other such fundamental components, and this affection made me develop a strong interest in semiconductors. Moreover, I chose to pursue a Physics degree because, I have always wanted to understand the different physical properties and conductivity of semiconductors. Furthermore, In the deepest recesses of my memory from growing up in China, I remember being able to look up in the sky at night to count the stars, seeing miles in every direction from my perch on the top balcony of my apartment. In the trips back home over the recent decade, all I see is the color of industrial smog—grey and dirty. Spurred by my experiences with the steadily worsening Chinese environment. I sought out the opportunity to write a research paper aimed at investigating the emission and deposition of SOx and NOx, characteristics of soils, effects of acid rain, suggestions for restoring soils, and future environmental prospects in Asia. My research, lead me to believe the serious environmental, and health issues that are occurring in my homeland on a scientific level, hence why I want to continue to research about environmental solutions.

Of all the listed research areas, xxxx intrigues me the most. One of the biggest application of thin films is semiconductors, which is one of my interest area. In addition, the research of nanocrystal-based electronic thin films caused some environmental concerns to society, and the goal of this research is to surmount this obstacle, which correlates directly with my ambition to achieve environmental conservation. Furthermore, after reading senior investigators’ research, Professor xxxx research and publications on quantum dot light sources is very appealing to me, because I have had experience on efficiency of light emission in one of the lab intensive courses at xxxxxx, and I want to apply the knowledge that I learned to practical research in a laboratory environment. If given the opportunity, I hope the research experiences would allow me to gain practical experience to complement my course work while also apply my scientific skills and knowledge in the real researching field.

One of the biggest challenges I had in college was my performance in Vector Calculus. However, the grades I received does not reflect my true learning ability or show my true academic dedication, because my educational focus suffered from personal and family issues occurred during this time. As for my major courses, I was able to get back on track and do well. I will be retaking the two math courses in the upcoming academic year, and I will also take Statics & Dynamics, and Modern Physics next spring semester to be more prepared to be a researcher.

As a first-generation student growing up in China, I cherished the opportunity to study in the US. I want to break intergenerational continuity and bring honor to my families. That is one of the reason why I am planning to pursue a PhD in either solid-state physics or material science; but most importantly, so that I can attain my long-term career goal, which is to find a position in the field that would allow me to research as well as develop novel ideas and solutions to increase the awareness of environmental protections. I am dedicated to gain more research experience, and the site would help me to move forward on my graduate study journey.
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  • #2
So you are a Junior at a US university right now, applying for a summer internship at your university? If so, have you talked with your academic advisor about this? Do you have strong faculty recommendations from any of your professors yet? From what I've read, these positions are very competitive...


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Just out of curiosity, you have checked that the REU is open to non-US citizens? Some are not. Unless you are a US citizen, then feel free to ignore this.

Advice: Take your rough draft to your universities writing center, they’ll be able to help you fix a lot of the grammar issues you have.

I’m not sure about opening with a “why I’m interested in physics” paragraph. What I wrote for the REU I attended was structured sort of like this:

1. A rehash of my understanding of the relevant background information I read about the project/PIs work. (You do this, that’s good. Maybe get rid of the fluff in the beginning and expand more on this- go deeper.)

2. How my skills/previous experience could relate to/help advance the project. (Things I’ve learned in the classroom, programming, latex skills, etc) As an undergrad we have to remember that our ability to contribute isn’t the same as a grad student or post-doc. So if you can show you can lighten the load doing some of the “easier” tasks like typesetting documents/posters or doing some of the programming work it’s a good thing for everyone. They get someone who isn’t just a warm body and can contribute and you get to learn about physics research. It’s a win-win.

3. Then I finished up with some of the softer stuff. (How this research experience will help me grow in my desire to be a physicist, how interested I was in the work, thanking them for their consideration and time, etc.)

Anyway, that’s how I did mine, YMMV, and the letters of rec/ GPA are probably more important. Maybe someone’s who evaluated students for a REU will chime in.

Edit: Berkemans link seems to follow a similar format as I did. You should definitely read it and revise.

Apply to lots of REUs, as long as you meet the minimum requirements of the program. Some are only open to CC students, some are open to any university student. Some have certain preferences. It depends.

If you aren’t already become a member of the APS.
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1. How do I start writing my REU statement?

To start writing your REU statement, first read and understand the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the program. Then, brainstorm and outline your ideas and experiences that can demonstrate your interest and qualifications for the program. Finally, begin drafting your statement and revise it multiple times to ensure it is clear, concise, and well-written.

2. What should I include in my REU statement?

Your REU statement should include your research interests, relevant academic and research experiences, career goals, and how the REU program aligns with your interests and goals. You should also highlight any relevant skills, knowledge, or achievements that make you a strong candidate for the program.

3. How long should my REU statement be?

The length of an REU statement can vary, but it is typically 1-2 pages. However, make sure to follow the specific guidelines provided by the program as some may have specific word or page limits.

4. Can I include personal anecdotes in my REU statement?

Yes, you can include personal anecdotes in your REU statement, as long as they are relevant and add value to your overall statement. However, make sure to focus primarily on your academic and research experiences and how they make you a strong candidate for the program.

5. Should I have someone else read and review my REU statement?

Yes, it is highly recommended to have someone else, such as a mentor, professor, or peer, read and review your REU statement. They can provide valuable feedback and catch any errors or areas that may need improvement. Make sure to give them enough time to review your statement before the submission deadline.

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