Statement of Purpose

                                                      Applicant: XXX (Tsinghua University)
                                                      Program: Building Science and Technology, Harvard University

“Lady First!” I issued this resolutely (the “lady” referring to myself), not as an invitation, but as an order, to the nine gentlemen who comprised the members of the interning team under my leadership. With this order that sounded with indisputable authority, I climbed into the 50-meter-high cooling tower that was in high-speed operation, with measuring instruments in my hand. To the amazement of everyone present, I succeeded in measuring the working efficiency of the cooling tower.

This event happened in May 20XX when I, as the Master’s student from Department of Building Science, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, led a team of undergraduates in the energy-conserving renovation project of the New HongQiao Mansion in Shanghai. As team leader and the sole female of the team, I acted both as engineer and project manager. Whenever challenging responsibilities presented themselves—whether to measure the cooling water volume by groveling on the 15-meter-high water pipe or to test the wind pressure by crouching in the air unit of only 3 cubic meters, I have always behaved according to this “Lady-First!” Philosophy. With my leadership, professional knowledge and indefatigable commitment, I led my team with this unique charisma to successfully complete the entire energy conservation project within a span of two months. Our contributions ultimately led to a $40,000 reduced cost in the mansion’s energy consumption. This was just one of the many energy conservation research and renovation projects for buildings that I have participated in over the past three years.

From the very outset of my undergraduate career in Tsinghua University, I have evolved a unique interpretation of this “Lady-First!” philosophy. For me, it is a constant reminder of self-motivation. In the ivory tower of the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University (arguably the best university in China), where the best young talents of the country concentrate, I have always told myself to fight for the best, both in academic study and in academic research. To my satisfaction, I have delivered on the promise that I have made to myself. My undergraduate academic record shows that my GPA in my specialty reached 91/100, ranking top 2 in my male-dominated class. My distinctive academic performance resulted in my acceptance into the direct Master’s program in 20XX exempted from entrance examination, a privilege for which only the best few in a department are eligible. For over 6 years at Tsinghua University, I have learned a large number of foundational courses in Building Environment and Technology. My academic transcript indicates that I have excelled not only in mathematics, computer science and English but also in most specialized courses such as Heat and Mass Transfer, Fluid Dynamics, Building Environment, Integrated Building System Design, all scoring over 90/10. In particular, I scored 99/100 in Electrical Science and Electrical Engineering, ranking first in a total of 200 students. Naturally I was awarded a number of major honors and scholarships of the university. Such a solid foundation has endowed me with full confidence for more successful academic undertakings in the future.

My distinguished academic performance qualified me for much research work. Under the direction of my supervisor Professor Zhang Yinping(vice-president of our department)even when I was a senior undergraduate, I have focused my research on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)—an important branch of the science of building environment, and have achieved fruitful research findings on the physical emission mechanisms of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which pose serious hazards to IAQ. As a member of Tsinghua University’s key laboratory —Indoor Environment Research Group—and under the sponsorship of Natural Science Foundation of China (the best honor foundation in China, I have succeeded in constructing an innovative VOC Emission Model which, by modifying the inaccuracies in the existing mathematic models, have obtained the model’s analytical solutions. I have further calculated the error of other analytical model’s neglects, made the analytical solution dimensionless, clarified the physical emission mechanism, and presented suitable formulae for describing characteristics of VOCs emission from building material). This research project, whose level of difficulty has been commented by my supervisor as comparable to a Ph.D. project, has won credit to my group and myself for their creativity and practicality. At present, I have built up my experiment chamber and will perform experiments on the identification of material properties. Moreover, under the leadership of Prof. Yi Jiang, the president of our department, I have been collaborating with other researchers in developing a software package (funded by UTRC, United Technologies Research Center of U.S.A.) whose building environment modeling can simulate the heat, humidity, VOCs concentration, equipment operation and zonal model. My performance has been highly rated by the project director and American experts.

Based on my research over the past three years, I have published 3 papers indexed by SCI (another paper accepted by the journal and indexed by SCI will be published soon), 1 paper indexed by EI, 4 papers published in international meetings, and several papers published in China’s national journals (Please refer to my Resume for more details). I was the only undergraduate in my specialty to have SCI publication and I am now legitimately the No. 1 student in my class in terms of the number and the quality of the publications.

Without a strong motivation, my achievements in coursework and research would be absolutely impossible. Yes, I am truly interested in Building Science and Technology and their relevant fields. The more I delve into my studies, the more I become obsessed by such questions—how to improve the environmental quality of buildings, how to produce a desirable building environment in an energy and resource-efficient manner, and how to prevent and solve the sick building syndrome (SBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)? As a student from China’s best university with a strong background in Building Environment and Technology, I feel I have major responsibilities to perform with the boom of China’s building industry. I see my research and future career as very meaningful because they can facilitate the harmonious co-existence between man and environment and I can be immediately instrumental to the society, of which I am a part. What is most exhilarating about Building Environment and Technology is that it is a science replete with humanistic concerns!

By the time I compose this Statement of Purpose, my supervisor has suggested that I proceed onto a Ph.D. program at Tsinghua University. However, I have decided to apply for a Ph.D. program in Building Science and Technology at Harvard because I am convinced that as a leading “research university”, Harvard can better satisfy my resolution to develop myself into a first-rate researcher in Building Technology by bringing my potential into fullest play with its unparalleled academic environment and research facilities. Your program features 59 members of teaching staff and academic staff, supplemented by excellent visiting faculty, researchers and instructors. I would like to work under Prof. XX, Prof. XX., Prof. XX., and Prof. XX, because I am interested in such fields as XXX, XXX, and XXX. Your program also features sponsored research projects, a diversity of studios and workshops, which will expose me to both practitioners and other international scholars working with important issues in their field of interest. Such a nurturing academic environment is precisely what an aspiring student like me desperately needs.

Triumph only belongs to those who never stop probing. Human beings never stop probing because the efforts to make our life better are infinite. Building Science and Technology is ultimately about making our life better and for this very reason I know that I will never stop probing for the rest of my life.



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