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  • Writer's pictureAnderson Lam Wei Cheng

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Application Personal Insight Statements

Explain your interest in the major you selected. Describe how you have recently developed this interest, inside and/or outside of the classroom, and how this major relates to your professional goals. (300-400 words)

Hearing the slightest hum, I rushed to the window, anticipating harvesting 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 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 interest in engineering really solidified when I won my first 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. However, with so many attempts at repair, I burned its circuits, yet in the process, my desire to pursue Electrical Engineering had grown immensely.

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 EE, and I firmly believe that the world-class education at UIUC will help me achieve my dream.

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. By investing in me, UIUC 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.

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