Over recent years, China was suffered from severe water pollution and shortage. Inspite of government efforts to adopt a variety of measures, the problem has not beenalleviated. I have been living and studying in Beijing since middle school, and haveconsequently had experience of the harm that environmental pollution can do to thesociety. I strongly felt the significance of environmental pollution control to ourcontemporary society and even the future of entire humanity, and I believe it is a causeworth fighting for with my whole life.In terms of my long-term career, to begin with, I expanded my knowledgefoundations and theory basis through undergraduate study.
Then during my graduatestudy, I kept learning learn cutting-edge science, and convert theory-oriented knowledgeacquired in college to the capability of solving engineering problems. In the meantime,the more knowledge I acquired, the more I would like to explore. Thus I want tobecome a PhD student and carry on research, go deeper in environmental science, andexpand the territory for my research area in the future.During the past years of study, I trained myself to be clear and logical, and upgradepersonal abilities in the following aspects as best as I can:Firstly, I kept acquiring knowledge and the basic theories in engineering field. Theundergraduate study at China University of Petroleum allowed me to master principlesof chemical engineering, chemical reaction engineering and physical chemistry, whichhave in turn enabled me to laid a solid foundation for my research and further study inenvironmental engineering. During the graduate study at Cornell, I went further in waterchemistry, but also expanded my area to hydrology, fluid mechanic.
Moreover, I had abetter knowledge of MATLAB and Python to solving basic engineering problems.Secondly, I gained rich scientific research experience and can be innovative andpersistent when facing challenges. In order to obtain knowledge beyond textbooks, Ihave worked with three scientific research through past years. During the first semesterof my junior year, as a research assistant, I started to study about treatment of NOx inthe exhaust fumes of motor vehicles. I focused on the design and synthesis of deNOxcatalysts, mainly by preparing a core?shell structural catalyst that have betterlow-temperature activity and SO2-tolerance. The biggest challenge in the experimentwas how to make the CeO2thin film as the shell of catalyst.
When we directly addedCe(NO3)3, the ions of Ce would agglomerate instead of coating the as-preparedMoFe/Beta grain, and the critical shell structure was unable to form. However, this issuehad not been resolved before, it presented itself as a prime opportunity for innovationsinstead of simply an obstacle. To address it, we dug into a huge amount of literature. Inthe papers about polymerization process, we noticed that coagulant PVP boast goodadhesiveness and can be easily removed.
We made improvements in our experimentmethod immediately: before adding Ce(NO3)3, we added PVP into as-prepared solution,PVP can adsorp onto grains and draw Ce(NO3)3. After crystal grains had been fullyencapsulated, PVP could be totally removed by calcination, the final product was denoted as MoFe/[email protected], thus the problem was solved and the catalyst exhibitedsatisfactory activity and stability. As one of the research achievements, I, as the secondauthor, wrote a research paper published on Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. Byparticipating in this project, I obtained the ability to transfer knowledge: dissecting ideasfrom other fields into basic principles, then reconstructing and applying them in a novelapproach.
This experience made me realize that the opportunities of technologicalinnovations are often stacked in challenges that no one else has addressed.Thirdly, I accumulated my practical engineering experiences when I am in Cornell.Obviously, research experience in the chemistry and catalyst lab was not exhaustiveenough, so I joined a global-scale sustainable water supplement project team,AguaClara, which currently running several water treatment plants in differentdeveloping countries. I was assigned to a brand new subteam worked on new method ofcoagulant addition, with a goal of cutting down budget by reducing coagulant dosage.Though we had no previous work and experienced members, I decided to taking thelead role for I have more relative knowledge and research experience. Out of nothing,we began with massive literature review to build our theoretical basis, then designedand fabricated our apparatus, which modeled the complete water treatment plant,including pumps, contact chambers, flocculater, sedimentation tank and complex tubeand valve connection.
However, the apparatus did not return desirable data at thebeginning, to address this, we analyzed the negative result thoroughly then introducedLabView based software to operate the apparatus automatically and created Pythoncode to calculate and vary the chemical dosage. Finally, we came up with conclusionabout trade-off between difference coagulant addition method. In this project, Ideveloped my ability of critical thinking: we should not only lead by the positive result,learn from the negative feedback or failure is also a critical part in research.
In conclusion, I have built a solid foundation of basic knowledge and researchcapabilities and developed keen interest in not only environmental engineering, but alsocatalysis science and pollutant treatment. Without any doubt, I still need further trainingand guidance to succeed in academic career in environmental area. Yale is known for itsacademic rigor and academic innovation. The focused fields of professor Elimelech arewell-aligned with my existing knowledge and my future career plans. Therefore, I amexcited for my application, I believe that my study at Yale would not only improve mydesirability as a future researcher, but would also help me to fulfill my dream of being aprecursor in my field.
It is my hope that the admission committee will recognize myfervent determination and consider my application favorably.