Junior re-evaluates writing through science competition

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Photo by David Choe (10)

On Oct. 8, Kevin Shin (11) submitted an essay on Nitrogen Plasma Surgery that won first place amongst 265 submissions in Dartmouth College’s annual International Science Essay Competition. Exploring the logistics of Nitrogen Plasma Surgery and the surgical breakthrough that this new technology gives rise to, Kevin presented his “idealistic claim” that it could be the future of cosmetic surgery.

“I decided to compete because I wanted to express my personal scientific [ideologies] in my own words,” Kevin said. “I was able to become very absorbed into the entire writing process because I had always been interested in the prevalent cultural presence of plastic surgery as a Korean citizen myself.”

According to Kevin, he had to delve into online research, consult teachers and discuss the issue with his cousin currently studying at graduate school to develop an extensive essay over the course of five months. His essay of 1974 words has now been published in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science.

“This award is certainly the greatest achievement I have gained in my academic career, both in terms of [honor] and [intellectual growth],” Kevin said. “As I wrote the essay, I realized that it is only when writing combines sincere passion and vigor that a piece of work that belongs to your identity can be produced. The discovery of the beauty of language and its [new-found] identity as a form of art still awes me.”

As a student hoping to take on a medical path in college in the fields of biology and chemistry, Kevin feels as though he has gained a precious learning experience through his integration of language and his passion for science. According to Kevin, he would not have been able to complete the essay without the help of his teachers who supported and helped him write it.

“Kevin did all of the research himself and simply asked me for edits,” said Chris Koester, one of the science teachers from whom he sought advice. “However, he didn’t blindly follow all of my suggestions and stayed true to his thoughts, which ultimately led way to a thought-provoking essay that made me look at plastic surgery in a different light. Kevin is a curious, well-researched student and I am [glad] to see that he is pursuing what he loves.”