Born into a family of teachers, I was the only student of my junior high school who read Huanqiu Kexue, Scientific American Chinese Edition. But knowing about microfluidic chips with tiny particles and red cells jumping up and down did satisfies a child’s blackhole of knowledges. After I spent the entire Spring Festival solving science competition problems, I had elementary understanding towards science: it could explain and predict.
I knew badly how to learn, but unfortunately it is the only thing I knew about myself at that time. HSYLC summit brought me 300 outstanding friends across China, but what a huge gap between me and those young dream chasers going for oversea colleges. In their view, science is not the only element. Design, business, and even politics are all huge factors. My world expanded.
For the first one year and a half in Tsinghua, I tried to develop a multi-dimensional understanding for technology. Politic leaders in China are powerful in shaping great technology. But after I joined the official student organization, I felt my energy were constrained. Then I tried to put faith in consulting, which seemed to transfer knowledge to values directly. But soon I found the consultants were not innovation generator. Finally, I learnt much on the economics courses about how commerce could promote the technology transfer. But this only firmed my idea not to become mere investors who squeeze money from technology.
In the end of sophomore, a technological volunteering experience made me settle down to technology innovation. I joined a Tsinghua group who tried to help children in remote villages, not by teaching but by building PCs and solar lunchbox heaters. After several travels, our devices are not just merely equipment. Using our knowledge of hardware, thermodynamics and mechanical design to create devices for kids, naturally stimulate their aspiration for science. Hence we produced a documentary movie to advocates more people to join. But the results we could never imagine: 2.5 million click and $30,000 donation in one month. We are changing the world better! Generating technology innovation and translating it into social welfare is so far the best angle to understand the technology.
Together with my pursuit of innovation, this experience shaped my idea of using innovative technology to promote social welfare. But how to achieve technology innovation? And what is the suitable position for me?
Entrepreneurship is a spirit that embedded in my gene. It means to explore unknown and challenge impossible with less concern of failure. In junior I was researching on thermocline storage system for concentrated solar power plant. However, since the research is done mostly, I desired to see if I could lead a team and create a product. So I initiate Union project. First our team is formed and grow into 14 people. Then we achieved operating demo after two major failures. However, though we got the name card from investors, I felt sad, since I could not generate continuous innovations in IT field. I then realized one principle, if technology innovation were a racing car, hi-tech entrepreneurs are the engine, and innovative researches are the fuel. I think I need more fuel.
Research is the source and fuel of innovation . In order to look for fuel, I turned to related research fields. In Purdue CTRC, I was able to carry out the research innovatively and the research could become real cooling solutions of future microelectronics. It is an amazing feeling! This consolidated my goal to first be a researcher with in-deep profession and effective creativity, and then combine my entrepreneur spirit to translate technology to products.
If I could innovate low cost and robust energy device and bio-sensor for areas like Tibet in China, Rwanda in Africa, their lives could be improved. Then the social-political issues could be solved in a different way. Also, the unsolved science problems intrigued my imbedded curiosity and further shaped my idea: I would love to be an entrepreneur scientist.
From a comparison with lots of alumni, I found a PhD study would suits me best, since it enables me to think and to practice for a long time, and I could enjoy the joy of discovery. I am ready for the uncertain yet adventurous future.