(print Application Cover Letter on personal letterhead)
255 Edgehill Drive, No. 705
Stanford, CA 94302
June 12, 20xx
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80520
Dear Sharon Somerville:
The following is a brief outline of my academic background, interests, and career objectives as they relate to my interest in entering a Postgraduate Residency Program in Medical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology at Colororado State University.
My passion for microbiology began during my fourth year as a veterinary student when I was involved in a project that focused on nutrition and disease management in poultry at the College of Veterinary Science, in Bangalore, India. While working on that project I realized that the knowledge I had gained through course work and clinical experience was not sufficient to understand the complexity of the disease process. This led to my interest in performing basic research in the field of microbiology and motivated me to explore possible research opportunities in the field.
My excellent academic record (top 1%), in addition to above-average GRE (1835/2400) and TOEFL scores (259/300), helped me secure admission into the animal sciences graduate program at Stanford University. During my MS program there, I was involved in an ongoing project aimed at understanding the effects of probiotics on animal health and microbiology and performance in both swine and poultry. As a part of my MS thesis project I studied the effects of the dietary nutrient composition on animal growth, performance, nutrient utilization, and E. coli shedding. As I progressed through my MS studies, I became more focused on the field of microbiology, and my quest for a greater understanding of the disease process motivated me to pursue a doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences. Since completing my MS program I have worked as a veterinarian and researcher during which time I have become increasingly fascinated with the novel strategies employed by various disease-causing agents in humans and animals, and the ways to diagnose those infections.
As a scientist I am fully aware of how long it can take to translate research into something available in a clinical setting and the fact that it sometimes never happens. I would like to pursue a career in which I can combine my entire academic and research experience and act as integrating agent to take science from the bench to the bedside in a very real way. I get a lot of personal satisfaction when my research results help someone and play a pivotal role in identifying the pathogen affecting a patient. Therefore, my parallel area of interest has been the development of diagnostic assays that aid in the detection of pathogenic organisms, which are easy to adapt in routine clinical practice. Our laboratory has extensive experience in developing diagnostic assays for the detection of a wide range of infectious agents of humans and animals, including Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and West Nile virus.
My graduate program experiences thus far have definitely confirmed my decision to pursue a career in clinical microbiology. My present career objectives remain consistent with my goals from the beginning of my graduate program at Stanford. In addition to my determination and persistence, the support I have received from my mentors and departmental faculty has been tremendous. Evidence of this is included in my enclosed letters of recommendation.
My long term professional goal is to have a career in clinical microbiology with an emphasis on understanding disease processes and developing effective methods of disease diagnosis and prevention. In this regard, I wish to continue my career at the interface of clinics and research in the field of clinical microbiology, where I can work with clinicians and run a basic research lab while still being able to teach and train graduate students. I am also aware of how important the training in this field is if we are to understand, diagnose, and control diseases of public health importance and also to communicate with clinicians or to discuss laboratory findings in terms that they will understand and use in their routine practice. Accordingly, I realize that professional training in the filed of clinical microbiology is a crucial step for me in the path to become a competent clinical microbiologist.
I believe that I am a skilled researcher and clinician with an insatiable scientific curiosity and excellent problem solving skills, combined with the proven ability to make decisions and to work co-operatively with others. I also have above-average leadership abilities and my capacity to operate under pressure will make me an ideal participant in your program. I think that I am in a unique position to utilize my training to-date in contributing to the field of ‘molecular diagnostics’ by developing new and improved ways of diagnosing infections.
The foregoing are my primary reasons for seeking admission into your residency program. I believe that I have clearly demonstrated my desire to advance in the field of clinical microbiology. If admitted to your program I will bring my unique talent and expertise in molecular biology and microbiology to your ongoing program.