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From an early age, I have been taught to think analytically. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, I am the son of two mathematics majors. My father, a software developer, followed his job to the United States when I was still a toddler, taking me my mother and me along. Concerned that I would grow up with less than my full potential, my parents constantly strove to challenge me intellectually. In middle school, I became extremely interested in math. The simple act of solving problems became fascinating; x and y constantly played hide and seek with me, and I found them every time. By eighth grade, I had completed an extracurricular course in trigonometry, and by tenth, I finished the first level of calculus.
Through my interest in math and logic, I developed a knack for computers and programming. Ever the foolish enthusiast, I leapt immediately into the most advanced procedural language – C. Console applications that translate English into Pig Latin may not have a profound impact on society, but it was through simple programs like these that I grew. Though they were hardly complicated or useful, I prided myself in their creation; they were the work of my fingers, and each executable contained, along with its import and export table, a bit of my soul. My first real project started after I was introduced to a new computer game. A player controls a tank and adjusts its firing angle and muzzle velocity in an attempt to hit an enemy. Inspired, I began working on a computer program that would calculate the parameters required to hit a certain spot on the two-dimensional playing field. Physics would become an integral part of my project; however, this class would not be in my schedule for another year. Therefore, I taught myself kinematics and successfully analyzed the physics engine in the game. After weeks of coding and testing the program was complete. It worked just as I had intended it to.
By creating “oneshot,” as I called it, I combined my interests in math and programming to design something. Although it took me weeks of work, I enjoyed the process and the creative thinking involved. I believe that it is this type of creativity that is my strong point and that I can apply it to the real world. That is why I want to study to become a computer engineer. When I was younger, I thought that money was paramount to all else in life and wished to become a lawyer or a doctor. I planned to attend a prestigious university and emerge an instant millionaire. However, I realized later that I should remain true to my interests. I would never study law or medicine simply because I am not cut out to be a lawyer or a doctor. Through and through, I am an engineer.
Since then, I have continued to pursue my interests. I attended the New Jersey Governor’s School for Engineering and Technology this past summer, where I programmed a robot and conducted a research project with a group of talented youths. I continued to take challenging classes in math; recently, I completed a course in multivariable calculus at my local county college, and I plan to take differential equations next semester. Also, I have entered programming competitions and started a coding project with one of my Governor’s School friends. My passion for creation continues to expand, and I look ahead to college and a program that will fuel my desire to learn. Carnegie Mellon University’s world renowned computer engineering program will provide me with the environment I need to follow my interests, and I am confident that I will contribute much to the projects of which I am a part.
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