The years of my childhood were shaped by the experience of watching my parents work. Both came to America as young adults, my father from Portugal and my mother from Austria. Here, with tenacity, grit, and humility, they built a life for themselves and for our family. They taught us that every job deserves being done well. From their first years in the United States through the present, my mother and father have insisted on a humble life. Instead of renting a nice home, my parents found work which allowed them to live and eat on site. Later, once they had a better foothold, my mother and father rented the basement of a house, where I was born. My father built the house we live in with his own hands, with loving attention to every detail. Thanks to my parents’ commitment, my brother and I have a comfortable life and the opportunity to pursue a college education. I have tremendous respect for what my parents have done, and will always remember the key to our financial security—success is not how much you make, but how much you save. As a first-generation American, I have had first-hand experience in seeing the differences between European and American cultures, perhaps the most important being an appreciation for the fact that a simple life is not a deficient life.

Diversity is essential in any environment, whether work related or not, allowing different viewpoints and thought processes to be utilized. Every individual is shaped by unique experiences that influence the way they act and think. To restrict any given community to individuals of a single type of background certain breed of individual would mean losing out on possible angles to be taken when tackling a problem. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to study both engineering and music, a combination that inspires me to apply my musical creativity and ingenuity to my academic projects and assignments. In some ways, technology and music share a similar purpose—the communication of ideas.  While such a representation of a plot or storyline and the transmission of emotions this portrayal of plot and relation of emotion are more obvious in the musical art form, these same elements are by no means absent in the field of science and engineering. In fact, some of the most revolutionary and influential products and concepts to grace our society have been those that play directly to the emotion of the individual. Thus, I have searched for ways in which I can broaden and expand my skill set of interpretation and relation from the purely artistic realm to all forms of academic pursuit in which I am interested., including my more academically minded self.

Throughout my experience as a student, I have come to realize my fascination in research. Research is at the core of the quest for knowledge; however, the wherewithal for undertaking research is not always readily available. it is not always an easy endeavor to learn. As a result of my passion for music, I have been exposed to the wide variety of materials available to students, while involving little to no overhead. Whether on-line or in print, scores and manuscripts can be attained and studied, shedding light on the inner workings of each composer’s character and thought processes. Additionally, any exploration of sound can be done with non-scientific “instruments” from a lab of sorts – the practice room. In my studies of music I have always striven to take full advantage of these resources. Meanwhile, the array of resources available to me for exploring my interests in engineering is not nearly as expansive. The major overhead of lab time and materials required makes personal pursuit of any serious form of scientific research and exploration outside of a suitable academic setting essentially impossible. I am grateful that my time at John Hopkins University has removed this particular obstacle.