We got a chance to chat with Yeju ‘Jerry’ Zhou a Computer Vision Researcher, Database Engineer, and rising senior at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology majoring in Computer Science. Jerry is spending the summer at Princeton working with Professor Nan Yao, founding director of the PRISM Imaging and Analysis Center located in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment as part of the International Research Exchange Program (REACH).

KC: What excited you about the REACH program here at Princeton University?

JZ: The chance to work in real laboratories. I can work with high-end, state-of-the-art instruments and have a taste of research life. Getting into such preeminent university is quite exciting.

KC: What are you working on?

JZ: I’m currently visualising and analysing experimental data from atomic force microscopes, and seeing if any new phenomenon could be discovered on an atomic scale.

KC: What are you hoping to accomplish in your eight weeks on campus?

JZ: I want to know how computer science techniques contribute to material science and physics. I’d like more experience working in an interdisciplinary area between computer science, material science, and physics.

KC: How is working in a research lab at Princeton different then your home University?

JZ: Students and professors are more closely connected here at Princeton. Professors pay more attention to research works thus students get more help and do more. And the life-work balance here receives more respect.

KC: What would you like to do while you’re in Princeton not related to your work?

JZ: I’d like to travel around New York and Washington. I’ve been to California so I hope to explore a different American culture on this visit.

We also touched base with Jerry’s faculty advisor Professor Nan Yao.  Professor Yao has been a REACH adviser since the inception of the program 10 years ago. We asked him why he is so committed to REACH.

“I really like the Keller Center’s mission to bridge disciplines and backgrounds not only across campus but also on a cultural and international level.  I really want to be helpful and supportive of that directive, which is why I am so enthusiastic about this program.  It gives me a chance to offer the best part of Princeton to students outside of our gates.”

Prof Yao’s is also committed to another of Keller’s missions; education innovation. In addition to regular for-credit classes, Yao has developed an outreach program through short courses and workshops in materials science, which are offered monthly to students from other universities and to industrial scientists, all free of charge.