GRADventure Specialist Profile: Xiao-Bo Li

Xiao-Bo Li

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics. My research is about the mathematical aspects of modeling protein structures. For example, one of the topics I work on is demonstrating that a variety of protein dynamics problems can be formulated as low rank positive semidefinite optimization problems.

What do you want to do following graduate school?

I would like to be in a career that gives me the opportunity to be creative and use my research skills to find new solutions. It is difficult for me to choose between a career in academia versus industry. I hope my career will be a bridge between both worlds.

Describe the kinds of professional development activities you’ve taken part in (e.g. volunteering, professional skills workshops, student association, GSA)

I have served as a past President of the Computer Science Graduate Student Association (CSGSA), during which time I helped to found the Math Graduate Student Association. I also try to attend professional development workshops when possible. The most recent one I have attended is the Center for Career Action’s networking seminar in the beginning of Winter 2017.

Describe the value of these professional development experiences.

My role in the CSGSA taught me the importance of team work and taking initiative. The Math GSA would not have been possible without the efforts of the founding team, which consisted of graduate students from across all departments in the Faculty of Mathematics. By taking the initiative to form this association, we have impacted the lives of many graduate students for many years to come.

The professional development seminars offered at our university are a great resource for learning real world skills not taught in the classroom. For example, I realized from the networking seminar how important it is to be a sociable person and always be open to learning from others, making new friends and connections. I highly recommend more graduate students to come.

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