Zoology Personal Statement

Zoology personal statement: Like many people, I imagine, I was drawn to zoology by watching David Attenborough when I was a child.  I was filled with wonder at the picture he drew of the animal world and inspired to follow up the glimpses he gave in his television programmes by studying the subject at an advanced level.  My AS course has opened up many exciting areas of investigation for me.  I have developed a strong interest in anatomy and particularly in the circulatory system, and I am eager to extend my studies into the areas of population, ecosystems and genetics.  It was a revelation to read Darwin, both the Origin of Species and The Voyage of the Beagle, and to discover the complex history of evolutionary biology, including the development of theories about blending inheritance which Darwin’s proposal of natural selection finally overthrew, and the importance of Mendel’s experiments which opened up the study of genetics and showed that the inherited genes in an animal do not blend, but remain distinct and can be passed on to the next generation.  What a pity Darwin never opened his letter from Mendel!  Equally revelatory was coming to understand that evolution does not in any real sense mean progress, as popular culture tends to assume. The experiments by Paquin and Andrews showed that populations simply adapt, but do not necessarily become “better” except in terms of their immediate environment.

I love the science in zoology and I am very keen to study such areas as environmental physiology in various types of animals, population biology and genetics in sea creatures, cell and molecular biology, co-ordination and control, freshwater ecosystems, survival strategies, parasites, wildlife conservation and so on.  The variety of the subject is very attractive.  Zoology also attracts me because of its importance in the human world.  At a time when biodiversity is both increasingly valued and increasingly under threat, the zoologist is likely to become an ever more significant figure, and the understanding and conservation of the variety of animal forms in the world will certainly become more urgent and politically important. There are untold secrets to discover and the career opportunities are endless.

Outside my interest in zoology I lead a full life.  I have undertaken work experience at a residential home, assisting carers and kitchen staff. I worked to encourage residents to take part in daily activities such as quizzes, which I co-ordinated.  I learnt much about how to communicate with people whose life experience had been very different from anything I had known, and it gave me the satisfaction of feeling that I was giving something back to my community.  The work demanded that I was highly organised, too.  My main extra-curricular activity is music.  I am currently working towards Grade 8 in piano and Grade 6 in alto saxophone, and I play the bass clarinet in a woodwind group and alto sax in a jazz ensemble. I have attended a Saturday morning music school in London for 10 years and I am an active member of the school orchestra and choir.

After completing a zoology degree I should like to spend some time as a volunteer on a marine conservation project in the Seychelles as a way into a career in conservation work.  I am academically able and a committed student with a real enthusiasm for my subject.  I am hard-working and very determined.  I work well with others but also have the confidence in my own judgement to be able to operate happily on my own and accept responsibility for my own decisions.  I have excellent communication and negotiation skills, and the ability to inspire others with the desire to achieve a common goal.  I am full of curiosity about my subject and know how to develop creative solutions to problems.  My commitment to my subject is total, and I believe I have the necessary qualities to become a very successful undergraduate.

Carl Johnson