(Runner Up Essay) Winter Flakes, written by Sandra Nguyen

The following essay was written by Sandra Nguyen in response to our first annual High School Essay Contest! The students were given the prompt of:

“The essay will be a one-page statement on a student’s dream for his or her future and how he or she plans to use biology to follow this dream.
ESSAY PROMPT: Biology is a subject which is intimately tied to other fields of study. There is enormous room for growth, exploration, and discovery in this field that can change the way we sustain life, cure disease, and protect our natural resources. Write a one-page statement (500 to 750 words maximum) of what you dream of doing in the future and how you can apply the broad field of biology to your career. Topics include but are not limited to: conservation, medicine, research, public health management, law school, writing, and art.”

We reached out to over twenty high schools in the San Diego area and received an amazing array of responses from students across the county.

Sandra’s essay, the runner up essay in our essay contest, is as follows:

Winter Flakes

Crisp, cold air fills the atmosphere as I woke up to a bright ray of sunshine. I remembered there would be days when I saw flakes drifting in the blank atmosphere, as if they were delicate snowflakes. But even a snowflake has its own melting point just like our skin when it feels irritated and inflamed. Every winter, my sister and I didn’t expect much, but only the usual: rough dry patches, and eczema ranging from moderate to a little beyond.  With a few trips to the doctor’s office I learned quite a bit from each appointment. Awakened by the stings of prescribed moisturizer on my sensitive skin, I was always asked about my sister’s eczema, and my winter-prone skin. I was always asked if my sister was okay or if I needed to take a visit to the doctor, because I was starting to have more than just a rosy tint on my cheeks. My family and relatives would always care for my health, but even when the solution is generally an over the counter cream, they expected some sort of insta-gone cream. I wanted to inform them that my sister and I were okay, and they had nothing to worry about. Determined, I knew I wanted to become a dermatologist. I wanted to inform, and assist from the outside norms of my relatives. However, I knew it in order to make this possible; it all came down to a science: Biology.

I knew I wanted to be a dermatologist.  Perhaps not from the start, but it was a gradual relationship. I was always one to change my mind constantly on which career path to choose, but I have always known what subject and field I wanted to be in. As a young girl, I wanted to incorporate business as well as chemistry into the mix, because I’ve always dreamt of becoming a developer of my own product.

For example, I can apply environmental biology as well as cellular biology into my future career when developing a product. I would be able to test out each season if there was a change in weather, climate, or environment that would contribute towards the symptoms eczema. That would be something I could easily test it through a double-blind procedure. In terms of cellular biology, I would check if the environment has affected the cells where the target areas of eczema would be.

Secondly, I would also use cellular biology to consider how each organelle works in our body. By continuously understanding biology, I can enhance my prior knowledge from a previous biology course, a current AP Biology course, along with biotechnology. I would apply it into my career through infinite research to test if any of our organelles aren’t functioning as they should would it then trigger an irritation to the skin.

Lastly, I would also derive aspects from biopsychology to dermatology.  For example, although eczema cannot currently be cured, I want to be able use the biological aspects in psychology if one can reduce the irritation of eczema through behavior, the way they think, or if it has to deal with one of our many nervous systems.  Similar to how acne can form due to stress.

In conclusion, by applying many of the biological aspects from environmental biology, cellular biology, and biopsychology, I know that I could use those major parts of biology and incorporate them into my studies as I gradually learn to become a dermatologist with a motive to find alternative ways to decrease eczema aside from typical creams. As well as a dermatologist who is able to developing a product that would possibly eventually lead to a skincare business nationwide.