The Man in White

Personal statement on Common App

Some people aspire to be the man in the grey flannel suit – or dream of going to work in a pinstripes baseball uniform, green hospital scrubs, a yellow firefighter’s coat, a pink tutu, a police officer’s dress blues. But me, I want to wear white – either a lab coat or preferably a full biohazard suit.

I want to do science. You might even say science is in my DNA. Both my aunt and uncle on different sides of the family are scientists, and their enthusiasm for their work has always been, well, infectious. Every year these two would dominate the Thanksgiving dinner discussions, mesmerizing us all with news about protein discoveries or genomic advancements, and even more, with the transformative power of their work to alleviate human pain and disease. It didn’t take long for either of them to gain my admiration. And over time, they became something even more: my heroes.

When I was thirteen I visited my aunt’s research lab at NYU, and was immediately struck by how cool it was. Her research team focuses on lupus, a painful autoimmune disease. While my mother was meeting with my aunt, I apparently needed “to be entertained.” So, a researcher led me carefully through the process of gathering DNA from blood, looking for the marker that...

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