Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.


At six o’clock in the morning, I am awakened by the sound of my rooster crowing. I stare out my window into the bucolic scenery that is my family’s small farm in Kenya. As my father leaves our compound, I reflect on the days when I accompanied him to the market with holes in my shoes because we couldn’t afford to buy new ones. The days where I had to sleep off sickness because I had no medical insurance.

My life changed the day my aunt invited me to live with her in the United States. She thought I was bright, motivated and would thrive in the US. After excelling in high school, I attended Columbia University in New York. City. I had gone from living in a house with no electricity in a rural village in Kenya to living in New York City and attending one of the best universities in the world. I knew I had to take advantage of every opportunity. I chose to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in sustainable engineering. I also took Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish language courses.

After graduation, I moved to Beijing to work for Goldwind, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. There, I created and filed a design patent for a wind turbine nacelle. Also, I was a sustainability consulting intern in India looking for ways companies can reduce the carbon emissions caused by the morning and evening commute. However, my passion is in green buildings and I want to be on the cutting edge of the industry.

I have been accepted to a masters degree program to study Civil Engineering with a specialty in Construction Management at Columbia University in New York City this fall. I want to combine my skills in artificial intelligence and mechanical engineering to construct the next generation of energy efficient smart buildings. In the future, I plan to work as a program manager handling international projects ( especially in China) as well as use my policy skills to draft and advise new infrastructure policies.

Personal Website "SheilaMisheni.com"

Sheila from California
Columbia University