Essay by Tiffany Hamilton

Tiffany Hamilton, of Huntington Beach, CA, won the 2017 $600 Karen Cooper Memorial Scholarship.

I intend to become a first-year student at an undergraduate institution next fall to pursue a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, then continue my education with a master’s degree and doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology. Once my formal education is complete, I will research and create pharmaceuticals to treat various ailments, improving the lives of many. My future will be intellectually rigorous, and I have prepared for these academic endeavors by enrolling in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and interning at The Boeing Company.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme requires the completion of advanced courses in mathematics, two languages, science, art, philosophy, and history, in addition to a research essay and leadership project. The program strives to create well-rounded, global citizens and its intense rigor and the time management skills forced upon me have prepared me for college-level courses. I have earned a perfect 4.00 unweighted GPA despite the difficulty of the classes, and I plan to continue this academic excellence at college. Furthermore, I have also participated in Model United Nations (MUN) for all four years at high school and currently serve as president of my school’s program. MUN simulates the proceedings of the United Nations through inter-school conferences in which students role-play as delegates from various countries. Speeches, group discussion, and resolution drafting are all required, which have all significantly improved my public speaking and writing. As president I now teach these skills to younger students, furthering my communication abilities. Working in any profession, especially the sciences, requires constant collaboration to achieve results; nothing can be done alone. I have readied myself for this work by gaining the study and communication strengths I need for university and the professional world.

Outside of school, I have prepared myself for my goal of scientific research by interning at The Boeing Company. I primarily worked in the Electrical Failure Analysis Lab on redesigning and constructing an altitude testing chamber to test how electrical components react to the rapid pressure cycling that occurs during flight. I consolidated and soldered the circuit, rewrote all of the code that controls the system, and constructed a metal container apparatus including a user-friendly interface with an LCD display and push buttons to change the system settings. In addition, I assisted with other failure analysis projects by taking measurements with a Keyence digital microscope and engineering a testing apparatus to consistently dispense water across a rotating part using a design similar to a shower head. I also spent some time in the Analytical Chemistry lab, where I conducted infrared spectrometry analysis of an unknown adhesive and measured the thermoconductivity of a proprietary material.

My goal is to help others by finding new methods to treat their illnesses, and in order to do so I will need to spend years collaborating with other studies both in educational and professional settings. I have prepared for this endeavor by pursuing rigorous coursework in high school, presiding over my high school’s Model United Nations program, and gaining valuable experience in a laboratory setting. I know that I will succeed because I have fully dedicated myself to all of these tasks, and have no intention of ending my commitment to my dream.

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