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  • Writer's pictureAnderson Lam Wei Cheng

University of California, Davis Scholarship Essays

Briefly describe your most important personal experiences, family, and/or the community in which you grew up in and explain how it/they have influenced your development.

The brittle and fake exterior that I had built around myself over the years slowly cracked as I saw my mother cry. “Why? Why did you join the gang, son? Why?” Her words echoed in my mind, rousing me up from my shell of a life.

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. In college, I signed up for the most challenging courses and pushed myself to prepare for upcoming upper-division courses.

Now, the spirit of grit is engraved in my mind, giving me the power to believe in myself. Every challenge was the foundation to create an ambitious and hard-working person aiming to keep growing and learning. I strive to push my physical and conceptual knowledge to participate in national and international competition levels, help my team to succeed, and increase the reputation of UC Davis worldwide. I would be ready to lead a team to empower them while taking on the world’s magnificent challenges to create a transformative technological world.

Briefly describe your academic and career goals and how you plan to achieve them.

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 and 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 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 Electrical Engineering and I firmly believe that world-class education at UC Davis will help me achieve my dream. Having completed most of the lower-division courses need to transfer, 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 UC Davis. I am excited to complete my last two years of upper-division courses on the journey of graduating as an EE major. Innovating new ideas to benefit the society has always been a dream for me. Undeniably, receiving an unrivaled education at UC Davis would be a life-changing opportunity to guide me one step closer towards my dream. I hope to receive the building blocks to make my dream a reality.

Describe your personal interests, hobbies, or accomplishments that are important to you and how they have had an impact on your life. Do not simply repeat information listed in the Activities and Employment sections of this application.

Amid a confusing time of this global pandemic - escalating cases, deaths rising into the millions - 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 VolunFlex to be a home away from home community on 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 and that is how I define a successful personal accomplishment.

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