Kunqian (Polo) Zhang
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I believe graduate studies will help me get a deeper understanding through specialized research. With undergraduate study, I could find what I was really interested in. I worked for four months as a research assistant with Greg Smith on the Bamboo Project and those four month aroused my big interest in bamboo products. I feel there is a desire for more targeted knowledge, so I knew graduate studies was suitable for me.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I had studied wood material science and technology in Beijing Forestry University for 3 years and pursued my bachelor degree there. Studying abroad to gain different advanced technology is one of my dreams. The UBC Faculty of Forestry has a program which provides students like me a chance to broaden our knowledge horizon through transferring here. I think the time I spent here is really a great fortune for me.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
This research will contribute to the knowledge base and use of engineered bamboo. Bamboo products have a great sustainability and receive more and more attention. Through investigation of structure bamboo products we will be able to develop a viable alternative to steel and concrete members, with a global outlook for sustainability.
What are your future career goals?
I plan to work on promoting the use of bamboo products in the structural engineering market. Since most major places of origin for bamboo are developing as sustainable societies and nations, bamboo would be a good alternative material which is green and sustainable.
What has been your most memorable Vancouver experience so far?
My fiancé came to visit me from China. We spent a cloudy day walking from downtown to the Lions Gate Bridge passing through Stanley Park. We enjoyed the time with a variety of birds in the humid air in the forest. When the golden sunset sprinkled on the sea, we felt the power of nature and were impressed by the beauty of Vancouver.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Language is always the biggest barrier. Keep practicing English before coming to UBC as well as after starting your new life in Canada. I know it is time-consuming and it is hard to conquer those difficulties at first but it is worth it.
Personal Interests / Hobbies
Music is very important in my life. I play piano. And I really like singing. Besides music, I like reading books or watching documentary movies about natural science, anthropology and geo-culture. Traveling to different countries with different cultures is always one of my goals.