Scholarship Finalist Essay #1 – Olivia Schappell
My name is Olivia Schappell and I am a current high school senior from Devon, Pennsylvania. In the fall of 2016, I will enroll as a Decision Science Major at the Dietrich School of Humanities and Social Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The University is one of the leading centers in the world for the study of Decision Science. Researchers in this field are tasked with determining how and why individuals, groups and organizations make decisions, and how decision making can be improved. The It-Works Scholarship is of particular interest because I believe research in the field of Decision Science will yield benefits in the way human beings live. Research into better decision making will impact our health care system, the economy, and even the way our military leaders make complex choices. Sponsored research is critical to the advancement of society by providing academics the resources and freedom to develop and test new ideas and innovations.
Human Society is advanced, whenever there is a discovery that can improve the way people live. Continuous investigation is the most key component into making such discoveries. Sponsored research, whether it is provided federally or by industry, provides the resources that are needed to do important work across many disciplines. Sponsored analysis has led to incredible advances in the healthcare field. Many of the new medicines we rely on as a society to protect us from disease or treat them are a direct result of the work done with the support of sponsored research efforts. There is a clear and distinct benefit to the way humans live as a result of our medical advances. A vast number of colleges and universities rely on sponsored research to enable and support the discoveries they are making each day. By supporting medical research for example, the foundation for future medical care is formed. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are examples of conditions that touch all human beings either individually, or personally if a family member is afflicted with the disease. Without an economic investment into research of these diseases, society will suffer.
In an era of reduced government resources, the role of industry sponsored research becomes even more critical. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is a perfect example of these issues. Their budget in 2015 was flat with 2014, however, during 12 of the prior 13 years it declined when you included inflationary costs. The NIH is accepting a significantly lower number of research funding requests. What is worrisome about this is its long term impact. NIH studies take years to complete so the full consequences of these cuts will be felt years into the future. Here is where we need industry sponsored research to take the place of government funding. The industry research will supplement the reduced investment by government and support many of these worthwhile scientific research projects. Industry and government cannot be shortsighted to think these budget decisions won’t have lasting consequences. Ideally, similar to projects that go all the way back to President Hoover, we need an industry-government coalition to sponsor key research projects. This coalition will identify the important research topics and put the resources to work. Without this, I fear we are jeopardizing long term solutions for short term goals. We will not advance society without sponsored research, we will become complacent.
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