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  • Writer's pictureAnderson Lam Wei Cheng

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Application Personal Insight Statements

How does MIT align with your goals (e.g., academic, personal, career, extracurricular, etc.)?*

MIT uniquely allows me to engage in hands-on practice of entrepreneurship and gain knowledge outside of the engineering field by offering Entrepreneurship & Innovation (E&I) minor which I don’t find anywhere. Courses such as Management in Engineering and Entrepreneurship Lab directly feed my interests in developing the skills to become an engineer and entrepreneur. Innovating new ideas to benefit society has always been a dream for me. I hope to receive the building blocks from MIT to make my dream a reality.

I am eager to join the MIT Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(MIT IEEE) and Association for Computing Machinery(ACM) clubs and be part of the like-minded peers who are just as passionate about acquiring and applying the knowledge they learned from the EECS program to a higher level. As a student who has no hands-on experience in anything technological, the passion of wanting to learn more about how to design, manufacture, and program an autonomous robot has grown immensely. I strive to push my physical and conceptual knowledge to participate in national and international competitions, help my team to succeed, and increase the reputation of MIT worldwide. I am committed to using the knowledge I acquire from MIT IEEE and ACM to design and build the most cost-efficient agricultural vehicles not only for farmers back home in Malaysia, but also every other nation. MIT EECS’s faculty, along with the community of talented peers worldwide, would bring out the best of me as I commit myself to their success.

Please discuss why you are considering transferring from your current college or university.*

Having completed most of the lower-division courses needed to transfer at a 122 acres size community college in California, the spirit of grit is now engraved in my mind. In the process, I have developed an extreme hunger for in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in the engineering field at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am now prepared and looking forward to transferring to MIT.

My reasons for transferring are almost entirely academic. I was caught up by the Robotic research at the world-recognized EECS program at MIT and was hoping to be part of it one day. Moreover, I have the opportunity to acknowledge the study environment and lovely community of MIT through many of my connections at the National Assembly of Malaysian Students in America, EducationUSA Malaysia, and MIT Club of Malaysia. There’s no Malaysian student who has ever transferred to MIT in history but I have faith that I can be the first one. Transitioning to MIT as a transfer student during a global pandemic will be difficult. But I have dealt with similar difficulties during my time at Foothill College, and I have the capabilities and resourcefulness to adapt to Massachusetts. I am excited to complete my last two years of upper-division courses on the journey of graduating as an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major. Undeniably, receiving an unrivaled education at MIT would be a life-changing opportunity to guide me one step closer towards my dream.

At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world's biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc.*

Amid a confusing time of this global pandemic, I set out on my college journey. Able to find my footing, it struck me how many others were not as fortunate. Students shared with me ways they were struggling and I could not stop my heart's longing to aid them. Everyone should have equal access to education, and I knew I could form a community benefiting generations of students to come.

I created my own community where we spread the gratitude of what was given every day in our lives by sharing and supporting the communities that have been disadvantaged. I was given the opportunity to meet people locally and internationally with different cultural backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and others, virtually through Zoom, which allows International Students Connection Club and VolunFlex to be a home away from home communities at college. We became our own support network and family for each other in such a common but unique place. We host weekly educational seminars, helping over three hundred students in Malaysian schools, and built a non-profit website Compidia where we share free programming tutorials, helping over five hundred students. It felt great helping so many, but more than that, we were proud to be part of a like-minded community, all striving to have a positive impact. I firmly believe building a strong-knit community is exactly what will get us through these challenging times even as a college student. Even small acts of kindness have profound impacts on people's lives.

Tell us about a significant challenge you've faced or something that didn't go according to plan that you feel comfortable sharing. How did you manage the situation?*

Since my middle school didn’t offer rigorous academic disciplines, most of my peers never focused on school work. They spent their lives whiling away, and many were a part of the local gang, taking pride in calling themselves “The Rebels.” In this chaos, I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I wanted to be a part of something, to have friends, and not to be lonely.

In turn, I started spending more time with the members of the local gang. Skipping school, spending days playing video games, and fighting with my parents and teachers had gradually become a new norm. Deep down, I knew that all I had were hollow friendships. As time ticked by, panic and regret started banging down the walls of my mind. By the end of middle school, I had failed seven out of ten subjects. I was stuck and desperately needed an out. The first step to start progressing was to apologize to my parents and come clean about everything.

I knew I had a long way to go, but I was all in. At my new high school, the teacher appointed me as the class monitor despite knowing all about my past. I was stunned by the immense confidence she showed in me. That was all the fuel I needed to work tirelessly over the two years of high school. I signed up for every extracurricular activity and finally graduated with an A in all the subjects.

No application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think that additional information or material will give us a more thorough impression of you, please include it here.

Hearing the slightest hum, I rushed to the window, anticipating harvesting and seedling machines, the most mythical transformers I had ever seen. As the increasing undercurrent of vibrations and buzz coursed through my body, so did my excitement for the tractors lining up outside my home.

Growing up in Malaysia, my father ran an agricultural seed and farm chemical company. Our house was a safe space for all the farmers to share their experiences and hardships. I witnessed first-hand how expensive the machinery was, the physical and financial toll on the farmers when they couldn't even afford to fix broken sensors and electronic chips. Seeing all the agricultural problems makes me emotionally and psychologically prepared to be an engineer and solve these issues. A desire to help them has burned in me ever since. I started researching machinery, electronics, and feasibility for chip design and development.

My interest in engineering really solidified when I won my first robot in a lottery, a cleaning robot, and along with it, an immense motivation to further my knowledge in the engineering field. Strangely, I was very excited when the robot broke down after a couple of uses. The curious seed of electronics in me blossomed as I took it upon myself to fix the robot. With wires and parts and a screwdriver, the complexity of the relation between electronics and software astounded me; everything fit perfectly. However, with so many attempts at repair, I finally burned its circuits, yet in the process, my desire to pursue Electrical Engineering and Computer Science had grown immensely.

Agriculture has always been synonymous with hope for me. While my peers viewed agriculture as unlucrative, I've made it my mission to empower the farmers back home in Malaysia through modern technology and principles. It pained me to watch the farmers of our community grow increasingly fatigued, their shoulders gradually drooping. Not only did they suffer physically, but they had to bear the mental stresses of frequent weather changes. Their techniques were ages behind modern global technology, and new generations have grown reluctant to take up their vocation. While my desire to help the farmers has grown exponentially, anxiety at seeing this likely future outcome never released its hold.

My burning passion didn't fizzle out over time, I fostered it through an internship at Advansia Drone Co.Ltd, an agricultural drone company. It was there I had the opportunity to closely examine drones' electrical designs and artificial intelligence systems. My desire to combine cloud computing and artificial intelligence to enhance agricultural technology for the farmers back home has never faltered. Taking STEM classes has furthered my expertise in EECS, and I firmly believe that the world-class education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) will help me achieve my dream. By investing in me, MIT invests in the future of our global food supply, considering the nation of Malaysia is a net exporter for more than half of the world’s commonly-consumed agriculture products.

Please tell us more about your cultural background

In Malaysia, where I came from, agriculture forms the backbone of the economy. Although I did not grow up starving, because my dad’s company is intimately related to farmers, I grew up listening to their challenging stories of being a farmer. Being a farmer is a tough job, requiring a lot of labor work. I have never anticipated being a farmer, working under the hot sun, and eating in the middle of the field. I am nothing compared to the farmers, farmers have to use physical energy while I am only using brain energy studying in a comfortable environment. However, because the farmers’ positivity and hard work inspired me to study harder in my college, I want to go back to my country to invent something for them not to suffer that much anymore.

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