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2021 Westlake University School of Engineering Summer Camp
Ivan Song, School of Engineering
School of Engineering
Why Westlake? Why School of Engineering?
On July 13th, Westlake University hosted its annual undergraduate summer camp. Over 40 students from Fudan University, Tongji University, Zhejiang University, Shandong University, Harbin Institute of Technology etc. came together in search for future opportunities.
On the first day of summer camp, students were joined by the Vice President of Westlake and PIs of SoE. Over the course of the morning, we explained about our school’s concept and introduced every PI and their research labs. In the afternoon students had the opportunity to communicate with their PI of choice and visit their laboratories.
For those students who missed out, please do not fret. Today we will be going over the stories of our summer camp together. Let us explore the reason “Why choose Westlake School of Engineering.”
First Look: Their Smiles
On this day, students walked into the camp with smiles. After registering and receiving their needed materials, they walked through the front gates of Westlake University for the first time, and had the opportunities to talk with our professors.
All the students had similar questions in mind. What kind of School is Westlake? What is the School of Engineering Like? What will be my campus life like?
Perhaps they only know the professors by name or have read about their research. Students only know the SoE labs by name but never had a hands-on experience. Labs such as artificial intelligence, robotics, data science, advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology, new energy, ocean, comprehensive utilization of environment and resources, biomedical engineering, microelectronics, etc. are just the frosting on the cake at Westlake’s School of Engineering.
Students met their PIs of choice and listened to them talking about their laboratories, their research and their life experience as a researcher.
Remaining true to their original aspiration, the light in their eyes never fades.
Zhenming Ding, Shengjie Hu, Cunxiang Wang, and Yuchan Wang are current students at Westlake. When were asked “Why Westlake” everyone’s answer was the same, it is the passion.
Passion is what is driving the current students to do research. Passion is what is driving them to create something new.
Zhenming Ding (Ziyang Zhang Laboratory, 2020 PhD Student)
Why did I choose Westlake University's PhD Program？
There are three main reasons:
1. At Westlake there is freedom and academic equality. Innovative ideas can be explored freely without any hinderance.
2. We have extremely passionate mentors. I do not think further explanations are necessary because you all have met them.
3. We have a very energetic team who loves scientific research.
What kind of research do I hope to do at Westlake University?
Here at Westlake, I hope to start up a new and innovative first-class research. Most of the current research directions are proposed by international or domestic research groups. We are just following in their footsteps and working on concepts based on other’s idea. The term innovation in science is “a process in which novel ideas are introduced and/or used in practice.”
My personal scientific goals are not to publish papers on journal articles. It is my hopes to develop a industrialized integrated photonic device. I hope that through scientific research I am able to train my ability to think independently.
Shengjie Hu (Ling Li’s Lab, 2019 PhD Student)
After starting my Ph.D., the biggest change that I experienced was my way of thinking. Before studying my Ph.D. I only understand how to look at problems in a simple matter. But now I can feel that when facing new problems, I tend to analyze the issue more critically. I want to understand the reason behind the problem and want to keep on asking why. I believe that by asking “why”, we can create an atmosphere for in-depth research.
I know there are many students who will wonder whether it is worth my time to spend the next four to five years studying for a Ph.D. Then I want to you to ask yourself, “what do you want a Ph.D. for?” If your goal for getting your doctorate is because everyone else is doing it, then I think it will just be a waste for your time. On the other hand, if you are pursuing personal growth in the field of academic research, then Ph.D. is a great option. If you are just persistent and curious; If you have a unique personality and will never be influenced by others, then Ph.D. is for you.
Cunxiang Wang (Yue Zhang’s Lab, 2019 PhD Student)
When I was an undergrad, my goal was to go study abroad. I never had the opportunity to join a summer camp for postgraduate studies. It was also a coincidence that I came to Westlake University. In 2018, I applied for Prof. Yue Zhang’s summer study. The first thing I noticed was that Prof. Yue’s academic capabilities was not inferior to any scholars in the field of NLP across the world. At the same time, he was also a very interesting teacher, that was the reason why I came to Westlake.
In these past few years that I have joined Westlake, I noticed that professors here do not like to waste time on projects that are meaningless. Everyone here wants to invest their time into research projects that will achieve academic recognitions. The school’s staff and faculty are extremely efficient, and they treat students and professors equally.
To pave the way for scientific advancement in China, the founders of Westlake University have gathered researchers from all around the world. Therefore, here at Westlake you can experience scientific research in its purest form of freedom. You can pursue your goals and dreams without limits.
Yuchen Wang (Kechun Zhang’s Lab, 2020 PhD Student)
I think choosing a school is like finding your truelove. It is a two-way selection process where both sides parties’ interests align. Before choosing Westlake, I attended two other similar summer camps. The reason why I chose Westlake out of the three was because of this school atmosphere. I mention this over and over in lectures for other undergrads as well, that when you come to Westlake and after you leave, “The Westlake Passion” is something that you will never forget.
The Westlake that I have seen and experienced met my expectation in every single way possible. Academically, it is very lenient. They provided us with opportunities to meet other colleagues working on different fields of research to exchange knowledge and experience. In addition to scientific research, you can also learn new skills and pick up new hobbies. But the most important thing is that Westlake is the gathering of like-minded people. The road to scientific achievements has never been smooth sailing, but if we are gathered here with the same ideals then it just might not be that bad. Whatever the outcome is, the process of wanting to do “something” is just as wonderful.
Visiting the Lab
After all the introduction, students moved to four different campuses to visit PIs in their respective fields. The campuses are as of the following:
(1) Artificial Intelligence
(2) Electrical Engineering
(3) Environment and Resources
(4) Materials Science and Engineering
Equality, respect, freedom, tolerance, open-minded are the qualities of Westlake University School of Engineering. Summer camp students can communicate freely with our PIs without restrictions.
Why Westlake? Why School of Engineering?
In this moment, Westlake stood for passion and belief. We (professors) came back because of passion and stayed because of our belief. We came back to our homeland because we truly believe that Westlake University is a potential blue-ribbon stock. In five or ten years, Westlake will not be the same as we see in this moment. Westlakers all share a common goal, to reach the absolute purity of scientific research. Researchers at Westlake University School of Engineering often comes up with crafty interdisciplinary research. They work endless hours in hopes of seeing that spark of success. Their minds are filled with creativity; their hearts filled with passion; and their dreams filled with light.
After this tour, students might have a better understanding of the road ahead of them. Making the right choice has always been a problem for students. Choosing the correct graduate program is just the same. When we look upon the smiles of our summer camp students, we wish them the best of luck and hope to see them once again. But this time as a student at Westlake University.