Weitao "Nick" Rong
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Mainly because I want to learn more about water and hydrology. I graduated from SFU with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science (Water Science). In that Environmental Science program, I always had that feeling that I know a little bit of everything but I lack the specialization in any field of study and therefore I decided to pursue a graduate degree in statistical hydrology.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
There are many reasons. Academically, UBC is ranked #1 in Canada in terms of environmental science research and the abundance of water in this province makes sense for me to study hydrology here. Personally, Vancouver is home and as a foodie I just love all the Asian food in Vancouver (I did an exchange semester in Quebec City and my stomach did not like that).
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The opportunity to work in the beautiful building of Forestry (#indoortrees)! The serious answer would be the background and research areas of my supervisor Dr. Younes Alila, which are in-line with what I want to do in the future.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC. Under my supervisor's recommendation I have attended several Wall Institute's lectures and seminars given by some world class researchers and academics in their field. And every time I feel so inspired and intellectually stimulated.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
My proposed field of study (statistical hydrology) requires more advance background in mathematics and statistics than I currently have. With only first and second year math/statistic background, it is challenging to further advance understanding in advance topics such as probability and stochastic processes.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The PhD program allows me to take undergraduate courses across the campus and in the math/stat departments. Therefore I have been taking advantage of this to build up my mathematical/statistical skills so I can advance faster and deeper in my research related to statistical hydrology.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Softball, gym, beer with friends.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Listen to your supervisor's guidance but don't be afraid to challenge your supervisor. Your supervisor is right most of the time but some challenges will only stimulate more thinking and better research work.