Beautiful Writing Without the Frills

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Posted on 02 Feb 2013 20:12

So much diversity can be seen all around us in nature but so many functions and traits also unite us. This unity makes the complexity of life very predictable and it gives scientists and mathematicians a way to predict patterns in nature with mathematical laws and theorems. Engineers take these scientific and mathematical findings and apply them to real life. My recitation leader last semester told Christina and me about the research she did with a professor. Using a circuit, she was able to mimic the workings and pumping action of a human heart. Such a complex network representing a bodily function was laid out in front of us so simply. Not only was she able to describe the function clearly, she grabbed our attention. For this reason, we stayed longer than anyone else in the class just to hear about this project of hers.

This encounter revealed to me what the goals of an engineer should be in writing. Engineers should write to turn something technical into a friendly and understandable concept for others, even if the audience isn’t as professional as the writer. An idea is not a good idea unless there are people backing it up. We sometimes get so invested in the intricacies of the actual project that projecting it out to members of an audience who might not be as specialized in the topic can often times be almost as difficult as the experiment/ finding itself. However, engineers have to pitch their ideas to other scholarly people as well as to certain companies in order to promote their findings or creations. Many times, this is done through the form of writing.

As a writer, I am not good at creating impressive writing. When I read the writings of my classmates (from Andrew’s English 110 course last semester), I get so jealous of their use of big words, complex syntax, thought-provoking metaphors, and beautifully painted imagery. However, I do know what I am good at, and that is clearly explaining an idea. It might not be as fancy or as impressive as other writers but I can make it reliable and easy to understand. I think it will work to my benefit as an engineer.

I also have experience conducting research and writing research papers. I did a project for several research competitions on the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 on English Language Learners in NYC public elementary schools. I contacted experts on the topic, read the long reform act, conducted interviews in several schools in NYC, collected demographic data from the DOE website, and compiled my findings in a (super long) research paper. Being very invested in this project, I was proud of the outcome. I shed light on a group of students who are often overlooked and criticized a major educational legislation with my own findings. This was the biggest project I took on, but I had done several other small research projects throughout my high school career. I think my experiences with the research method and putting it all down on paper makes me well suited for the research field and writing like an engineer.

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