First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to review my application through Questbridge and Early Decision I. Although my decision has been deferred to regular admission, Columbia University remains my number one choice for college. I wanted to expand on a couple of areas of my application to provide additional context and insight. In addition, I am excited to share with you that I have been selected as a semifinalist for both the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the New York Times College Scholarship and I am currently being considered as a finalist. Since I submitting my application in October, I have taken on the role of President of my school’s new founded Science Research Project club, while continuing to work as a tutor at Read Alliance. While reflecting on the many reasons for wanting to attend Columbia, I am particularly interested in the world-renowned Core Curriculum, creating a safe place where students are encouraged to think critically and engage in informed debates. Through debate, I have learned to logically build arguments and defend them, but I have also learned the importance of being respectful to positions I may personally disagree with and keeping an open mind. The Core Curriculum is increasingly valuable to myself and society, as I have seen an increase in intolerance and suppression of dissenting voices. The Core Curriculum promotes an exploration of diverse cultures and world perspectives, only further enhanced through the diversity of the student body bringing rich experiences into the classroom. Similarly, Columbia encourages students’ right to free speech and the importance of tolerance, even for ideas and beliefs that contradict their own. This was demonstrated during Free Speech Month on campus where Columbia welcomed various speakers with differing points of view. I hope to be able to contribute my own life experiences and perspectives to programs, discussions and new relationships as a member of the Columbia community. Since middle school I have had a passion for the sciences, although I have since grown an interest and devotion to women’s rights. At Columbia, I can combine these passions by majoring in biological science, women’s and gender Studies, and political science. While attending the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology Basic Science seminar this January, I enjoyed listening to postdoctoral fellow, Daniel Grimes, present his research on cilia and fluid flow in development and disease. Growing up in a small village in Bangladesh, I remember watching people suffer from infections after drinking contaminated well water and the public health crisis that unfolded when the only local doctor was not familiar with treating such illnesses. Daniel’s work has inspired me to do research on pathogens while in college. My background compels me to study women’s roles in South Asian cultures because I have experienced significant cultural resistance, including from my own family, regarding my aspirations to have a career in scientific research. My peers teased me that I would never be able to achieve those dreams as a girl, and my parents wanted me to follow in the footsteps of my older sister and marry. I want to study the effect human interpretations of various cultures and religions have on women in countries like India and Bangladesh. I yearn to make a meaningful difference in other girls’ lives by empowering them. Participating in women’s rights events at my high school, like our annual women’s march, has been an important aspect of building my own identity and developing my passion for advocacy. Through Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, I can participate in events and advocacy work that is personal to me.