Li Yike, a senior computer science student in the School of Information Science and Technology and a finance minor still remembers her first week on campus. “I felt curious about everything!” Li is always on the search for something new to try, and that may be why she decided to attend ShanghaiTech, even though the new university’s campus was still very much under construction. “I like to do new things. I didn’t know it before I came to ShanghaiTech, but now when I look back, I realize that ST has provided me with so many chances to do new things and have new experiences,” she said.
One of her favorite memories was building a mechanical walking dog with her teammates as part of a Mechatronics class in her third year. “We trained it to walk and avoid obstacles. We worked really hard for four days and the last night we stayed up all night together,” she remembered. “It was really fun to work with my classmates and you change your ideas and learn new things together. We came from two different majors, computer science and EE, so there was a lot of interdisciplinary sharing.” Her team ended up winning first place.
In contrast, “my first year was so painful,” she remembered. She hadn’t adequately prepared for a coding assignment and had to learn to code first before she could finish the assignment. That taught her about the importance of being prepared. “You’d better preview your knowledge before the semester begins,” she said.
Li has tried new things outside of her major as well. She chose to do a Finance minor on a whim, and to her surprise found skills she didn’t know she had. She joined the Tai Kwon Do club with no martial arts experience and got so good that she made it to round two of a competition.
Li’s experiences studying abroad were eye-opening she said. Li did two study abroad programs, participating in a summer program at UC Berkley and a 6 months’ internship at Carnegie Mellon. “It was really fun because the courses and education system there are really different from in China,” she said.
After returning to ShanghaiTech, Li designed a workshop to lead students through the graduate school application process. “When I was at CMU I noticed they had this kind of support but as ShanghaiTech is a new school, we didn’t have those kinds of workshops set up. We’re only the second graduating class, so we need to help the younger students prepare,” she said. The workshop had eight sessions and Li and five other students explained each step of the process.
Li will continue on for her Master’s degree at UPENN, where she’s very excited to study in one of the top three robotics programs in the US. “The professors are super cool and they are doing some really interesting things,” she said.
Her studies in Finance have inspired her. She even wrote about the experience of studying something totally different from her major in her graduate school applications. And that’s something she’d advise new students. “You can have a new understanding of yourself and learn what your skills are. So try new things and realize you are a multi-talented person!”