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Kaitlyn e


Bold Points




Rhea County High School

High School
2018 - 2022


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Nuclear Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Nuclear Engineering

    • Dream career goals:

      Senior Engineer

      Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship
      Since the dawn of time, humanity has done one thing exceptionally well: break limits. Many centuries ago we only trekked the few miles around our homes, but now we breach the deepest depths of the ocean, space, and even the human body. Despite this, we are not invincible. We still face grueling challenges like fatal diseases and limited energy. There’s good news though: we’ve found ways to overcome these obstacles. A recently discovered tool called CRISPR gives us a tool to crush countless afflictions, and our harnessing of nuclear energy provides us with more power than ever. This proves that with our knowledge and ingenuity, we can overcome any challenge we face. Currently, many see cancer as a giant that can never be slain; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In 2005, a protein named CAS9 was discovered. Little did we know at the time, this would revolutionize our perception of previously incurable illnesses. Feng Zhang of MIT was able to modify eukaryotic DNA in 2013 by the process of exploiting CAS9, known as CRISPR. The invention of this process has wonderous implications; we know of over 6,000 genetic disorders, many of which CRISPR may cure. Since a single mutation often causes these maladies, eradicating them could be a simple job for CRISPR. One day, doctors may be able to regard fatal afflictions like cancer and cystic fibrosis as petty sicknesses that are easily remedied. However, CRISPR will require large amounts of energy, especially if it is used on a massive scale. Luckily, we have stronger, cleaner power sources at our fingertips. Nuclear power has the potential to vanquish previous energy concerns and allow CRISPR to be accessible to everyone. Because of this, I’ve chosen to be a nuclear engineer once I complete schooling. I live in an area powered almost solely by nuclear energy and hydropower, so I’ve witnessed the benefits of nuclear energy firsthand. Despite this, I am aware that nuclear energy has the potential to be even more efficient. We currently obtain our nuclear energy from a process known as nuclear fission, the splitting of heavy nuclei to release energy. Fission provides some energy, but there is a better way to harness nuclear power. Nuclear fusion is the process of fusing light nuclei into heavier nuclei. Unlike fission, nuclear fusion yields a massive energy release and even powers stars. Unfortunately, nuclear fusion is not yet an attainable energy source for us. Our current technology requires more energy to fuse nuclei than the fusion reaction provides, making fusion inefficient. Even so, this doesn’t mean we can’t find a better way to fuse nuclei. If we create a less energy-reliant process for fusion, the benefits will be astounding. More energy will be available for the public and for research. Also, nuclear fusion does not produce nuclear waste and there is no potential for nuclear meltdowns. My goal is to be a nuclear engineer so I can pioneer nuclear fusion technology so the world can have clean, safe energy. Once we can harness the same power the stars use, who knows what we could accomplish? Long ago, all of this was seemingly out of our grasp. Thanks to great technological pioneers, we can fly, produce energy, and cure illnesses like never before. I plan to be one of those pioneers; I’m determined to use my skills to make an efficient nuclear fusion reactor. Once I do, others will be able to innovate and improve the world. As long as engineers and inventors exist, humanity will continue to reach new, wonderful heights.