Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
After receiving my bachelor's degree in Polymer Engineering at Zhejiang University in 2012, I joined the NSERC sponsored oil sands group at the University of Alberta. I was dedicated to research on the application of innovative pH and thermal-responsive polymer additives in oil sands extraction and waste tailings treatment. Upon obtaining my master's degree in Chemical Engineering, I immediately joined a start-up company and contributed to the establishment of its research facility in the oil sands department. I led the project of applying activated carbon to optimize bitumen extraction from low-quality oil sands ores and facilitated a patent publication in the first year. I also explored other career possibilities and worked as a sales manager and marketing team leader in other industries. But none of those working experiences could satisfy my desire for academic opportunities in learning and applying more cutting-edge knowledge and technologies. Therefore, I determined to join Dr. Huan’s group at the University of British Columbia in 2018.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is one of the most prestigious academic institutes in Canada. Doing research while being surrounded by the most intelligent people all over the world is definitely inspiring. Besides, Dr. Tao Huan used to study at the same university with me, and I knew working with him would be delightful and productive. His research topic of LC-MS based untargeted metabolomics is also a promising research field that can solve numerous biological and medical challenges. Therefore, I did not hesitate to apply for UBC in order to work with Tao. In addition to academic reasons, I chose UBC because Vancouver is my favourite city in the world. I have visited this city a million times before officially moving here. It was a dream that came true.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The most state-of-the-art and cutting-edge research area all over the globe.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The perfect life is exactly as expected.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
The research itself. I like a challenging life full of potentials.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
I really enjoy teaching, and I have constantly received highly positive evaluations from the students I taught. So, a lecturing position is one of my options in my future career. I also wanted to search for a research-based faculty position. Though teaching will also be part of the job, it is not enough for me. I want to be fully involved with the teaching duties. I think I will have to make a hard choice if there is one in the future.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
It has been great so far. I have participated in some teaching workshops to enhance my teaching skills. I have been dedicated to my research projects. Everything I have done pushes me one step towards my future goal.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
As I have mentioned in the previous question, I used to work in industry for around 4 years before my PhD program. I have learned how to work efficiently and manage time properly. All of my working experiences prepared me to fast and smoothly accommodate to my PhD life.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I like jogging, working out in the gym, and eating out with friends to try all the delicious food in greater Vancouver.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Research should be fun. Do not take it as a labor work, and you will not feel lost or helpless when challenges arise.