My Statement of Purpose for a Computer Science Masters

Jacob Ethan Flores
3 min readApr 22, 2017

My application is due Monday April 24th. I’m looking for any/all criticism. Hopefully my story resonates with some and we can connect over similar pursuits.

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In my life is a narrative that runs parallel to our global story, although it is uniquely my own. Born into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, my mind was shaped to focus on and endlessly discover the ways in which the world is falling apart. Armageddon was always just a few years away, and the systems built by man were hopelessly imperfect. At 25, I belong to a generation familiar with accelerating complexity. We are post Cold War children; 9–11 watchers; inheritors of globalism; formed by the Internet.

By my teenage years I had lost faith in my religion and searched for meaning in philosophy, poetry, and music. I identified with the archetypal Thinker and longed to live a simple life devoted to thinking, letting the world fall a part around me. Because, frankly, while I stopped believing in religion, I had not stopped believing we live in the “End of Days”.

I entered University as a Philosophy major, enthusiastic to pursue the mysterious and metaphysical. By my second week of college, my father had committed suicide. I don’t bring this up in hope of pity, but to give some context on my choices and background, which influence me to this day. The hopelessness I felt after my father’s death made studying Philosophy unbearable; I needed a means to find solutions, not another way to question my reality. While I was given the choice to take a break from school, I decided to spend the second semester of my freshman year taking art and music classes. In practicing art I reflected deeply on what I wanted my life to mean, letting my subconscious work on my grief while my hands reflected the creativity I desired in life.

One morning, during that semester, I woke up and had a strong intuition that I would find my purpose on that day. Within two hours of waking up, I had. While speaking with a friend, I noticed a dreamcatcher on the wall of her roommate. The dreamcatcher stirred inspiration in me so much, I took the idea of it seriously. In a moment, I decided that I would pursue engineering so that I might one day be a neural engineer. My hope was to catch dreams as they played through the mind, displaying them for the dreamer to see once they awoke.

Through the next 4 years of college I switched into biomedical engineering and took on research in a neuroscience lab. I became a Mellon Mays fellow and experimented with wearable consumer technology that interfaced with the brain. And I integrated my creative streak by taking on roles in design and engineering projects that utilized art and explored meaning.

My passion for dreaming has remained, but I decided to pursue a career in consulting after finishing up my bachelors, because I think there are lessons in professional work that are crucial to the practice of research and development. As an engineering intern at Two Bit Circus I developed a passion for building systems that educate and develop young minds through Play. As a software consultant at Accenture, I have developed a respect for the process of teamwork, especially across the borders of government and industry. This has cultivated in me an interest in the development of ‘Smart Cities,’ principally as they relate to the people that inhabit them.

Recently I have dived into working on virtual reality development, by taking a course with Udacity. Through Udacity I came to find out about the Georgia Tech Online Masters in Computer Science. The program immediately piqued my interest because I can complete it while working, it is affordable, and it is geared towards those who wish to learn Computer Science even if they don’t have a background in it. This makes evident that Georgia Tech values inclusion in tech and access to education, both of which matter deeply to me.

Marc Andreessen said in 2011, “Software is eating the world.” This is true at the nexus of my passions, so learning its practice is a logical next step. With this degree, I hope to build systems that capture dreams, educate kids, and empower citizens.

Thank you for the consideration.

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Jacob Ethan Flores

Poet, tech analyst, artist. Building bridges between design, technology, biology, and the commons.