What do you do at LIDS?

I’m an administrative assistant. I support and assist Prof. Sertac Karman, Prof. Pablo Parrilo, Prof. Alexandre Megretski, and Prinicipal Research Scientist Kalyan Veeramachaneni and their research groups.

What brought you to MIT and LIDS?

Before I moved to Boston I was in Tennessee—I was getting my degree in political science (focused on Public Administration) at the University of Tennessee. After finishing my degree, I came to Boston to get married. Before coming to MIT I had a data-collecting job at a research institute, so finding this position at LIDS is perfect to get practical skills combined with my theoretical study.

Is your hope to eventually use your degree at MIT?

Doing research is a very emotional process for me, it always has ups and downs but the down part seems to be greater. Some people are very good at doing research—they feel so pleasant when doing it—but I may not be that kind of person. MIT is a fantastic platform for me to strengthen my knowledge in public administration. It is a great institute. I’m so glad I’m here.

What hobbies or interests do you explore when you’re not in the office?

I love swimming and hiking. There is a gym with a pool close to the train station. I tried going in the mornings—taking a swim, showering, getting dressed, and coming to work. But it was too much! I have to keep it simple in the mornings. I enjoy walking along the sides of Charles River (there are runners 365/24) and watching the beautiful views. I also love to learn Latin dancing, though sometimes I feel I’m too slow to remember the steps!

Is there a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

I have some deaf friends so I became interested in learning American Sign Language. At first it required so much concentration on each person’s signing that I’d be very tired after just a little while. But later on I found it a beautiful language because it is so expressive. The deaf people I met opened their hearts easily, and love people. I would love to learn different languages, because every language lets us learn about a different culture, and it is also amazing to have so many different languages and cultures here at LIDS.

What is your favorite thing so far about LIDS or MIT?

I have many favorite things! The people at LIDS are great. They are very friendly. When I first started, this past winter, everyone was so helpful and welcoming. I also find the people at LIDS are very humble—extraordinarily intelligent but still very humble. I enjoy seeing professors and students at the white board discussing a problem together. They just love their research. It’s great to see such great people working together.

And I love that it is so international here. There are people from everywhere and from many different backgrounds. If I had the ability I would introduce more Chinese kids to MIT to see how great this place is, and if the students here want to visit China I would encourage them to do so.

It also seems like my life is never away from a campus. I was born into a teacher’s family. Our home was right next to the school where my father taught. For my first job back in China, after my degree was achieved, I stayed at the same university and had a teaching job. This means I grew up on a campus, studied on a campus, and have worked on campuses throughout my life. I feel so at home in this setting, so I enjoy the MIT and LIDS environment very much.