My best friends in the first grade were the world famous Olsen twins. I first met Mary Kate and Ashley in my elementary school library, and in less than a month the three of us became inseparable. Paralyzed with awe, I listened as they shared stories of crime and justice, mystery and thrill, action and suspense. Of course, my six year old brain never processed that the mystery books from the New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley Series weren’t actually written by these twins, nor did I realize that the adventures written were completely made-up fantasies. Not that it mattered to me— when I read those books, their stories became as real as the physical book that contained them. That was the whole point. Creation through imagination shapes one’s reality and truth.
It wasn’t long after this experience that I felt compelled to create stories from my own imagination, stories of creatures and multidimensional worlds, heroes and villains, and the ultimate fight between good and bad. I’ll never forget the feeling of writing “Duke the Hero of Yonzon”, a ten page story about a young boy destined to save another world from evil. I became proud after reading my story, and writing fiction became a stepping stone to creativity. As I grew older, this craving for creating spread to my interests in music and science. I began writing music, composing original organ pieces for my church and piano pieces for myself. I experimented with different melodies and chord progressions while incorporating the knowledge I already had as an organist, discovering for myself what worked and what didn’t through trial and error.
As I entered high school, I began to notice that scientists have used this same method of trial and error to create inventions that have revolutionized science and technology in our world. Impressed that scientific inventions had real, practical application, I yearned for an opportunity to create something in science. The scientific investigations in school, while challenging, only required validation of already existing laws and theories and never asked students to think beyond what was already known. I was dissatisfied, and as I progressed in school, my inner scientist begged me to include it in my quest for creation.
So, this past summer I worked withDr. Javier Macossay-Torres’s research team in devising a new surgical treatment to either replace or scaffold defective joint ligaments in the human body using the nanofibers of synthetic polymers. I fell in love with the chemistry behind it all: the altering of the polymers’ strict chemical structures for elasticity, breaking them down into nanofibers up to 100 times smaller than a human hair, and strengthening these microscopic nanofibers to withstand the power of the human body, all of which were unnatural ideas until intellectual creativity made them real and true.
This is mankind’s greatest power: the ability to give ideas life in order to form something the world has never before seen. I see myself in the future taking all I’ve learned from writing and music composition to ultimately conduct scientific research, generate an idea, experiment different solutions, discover unknown science, and hopefully create something meaningful.While scientific research is just as much a creative act as writing or music composition, a researcher takes the perspective of an observer, using all learned knowledge to either create something useful to the world or discover something new and set the path for future creators. So, in order to reach my full potential as a researcher, I must first observe the world and immerse myself in curiosity and knowledge. Only then will I be able to discover and create all that I can.