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About Me

I'll start with an honest statement: Until about halfway through my Ph.D., my primary academic motivation was pure personal challenge. Yes, that’s right, I simply enjoyed learning for the fun of it. I also wanted to see  how I could use my core math/science knowledge to solve engineering problems that I mainly just found interesting.

But as I progressed through graduate school, I experienced the impact of true hardships and failures on me. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I struggled a lot at the beginning to the point where I almost got kicked out, so I knew that I would have to make significant personal changes in order to overcome the challenge at hand. Along the way, I understood my career interests and potential through experiences as a TA (teaching assistant), in professional service activities, and in my research lab. I wanted to serve as that inspirational role model for other minorities interested in STEM fields. I've also been engaged in several outreach programs demonstrating various engineering-related hands-on activities to K-12 students. Clearly, staying in the university environment to pursue a career would be the choice best suitable for me.

So here I am now, just starting on the tenure-track, having overcome a great deal of challenges and obstacles, learning a lot from failure and hardships. But really, the journey is just beginning. And I’m grateful for the many amazing and inspirational people (students and professors) for all of the guidance and support I’ve received along the way.

So what I would say to students are these two things: (1) Don't be afraid to fail, make mistakes, or get rejected from an opportunity; instead, looking to it as a learning experience and eventually those failures will become successes. (2) If there's something that you're really passionate about, that even the thought of it gets you excited no matter what... don't be afraid to hide it. Following those deeper interests is how I believe you can make the most out of your life both inside and outside of work.

Anyway, that’s the short story. For more of the professional details, you’re more than welcome to have a look at my CV or my dissertation, both publicly available.

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