Jianjin Dong

We are pleased to have Jianjin Dong as our next graduate student interviewee! We recently caught up with him to see what he's working on. It sounds like he's doing some exciting things with nanowires and more! Thanks Jianjin.

What program are you in and when did you start it?

I am in the PhD program of Electrical and Computer Engineering. I started it in January of 2014.

When did you know that you wanted to do graduate school?

I decided to do graduate school when I was still an undergraduate student.

How did you find your supervisor?

My supervisor contacted me first. After several emails. I realized her research area is in line with my background and interests. Thus, I finally joined her group, and this has been one of the best decisions that I have made.

What is your research on?

Nanowire alignment, image processing/computer vision for alignment quantification, and  transparent electrodes for displays

How did you become interested in your research?

Step by step. This is along with my personal persistence, curiosity, my supervisor’s encouragement and support, and WIN's multidisciplinary research atmosphere.

What is the coolest thing about your research?

Many things, such as publications, getting good results, and finding that my research is very useful in industry. Hard to define which is the coolest, as feeling changes.

Tell us something we might not know (related to your research)?

All my research has been published. :)

Why did you choose UW for graduate school?

Before I came here, I knew that UW was famous for its engineering program, prestigious faculties, and state-of-the-art facilities. Another reason was family ties. After I came here, I realized that WIN is very important to me. It combines researchers from electrical engineering, computer engineering, physics, and chemistry together. I can grab useful knowledge/experience in every area from the researchers here.

What advice do you have for current graduate students?

Think out of the box. A multidisciplinary background/experience is helpful. Don’t waste time on thinking about trivial things.

What advice do you have for potential graduate students?

Think graduate school through before you start.

What's a personal challenge you've faced as a graduate student?

Family burden. Since I am married and have started my own family, I can’t ask for financial support from my parents anymore. Being responsible for my whole family rather than just myself is another challenge. I would like to thank my supervisor for her support, which lets me focus on my research without worrying much about this issue.

What's a career-related challenge you've faced as a graduate student?

Probably how to find the most suitable career for myself. I think WIN, my supervisor, and my manager at RBC (where I did an internship) helped me a lot on this. As I mentioned, WIN provides us with a multidisciplinary research atmosphere. Even though my time is limited, which means I can’t do research on all areas, I know what it is like in other areas and try to use that knowledge to contribute to my research. For example, when I tried to do nanowire alignment quantification, I need to use image processing which I had no experience with. My supervisor is very open-minded and found another professor (also from WIN) to help me. After this, I realized I had some talent with math and data analysis. (Otherwise, I might not have known my strength in these areas.) When I did my internship at RBC as a Data Scientist, my manager gave me a few small projects to try. He thought that I should try to figure out what my interests were since I was a PhD student who didn't have any work experience. Finally, I know my strengths, talents, and interests. When I look back, I never thought of becoming a Data Scientist 4 years ago. (I hadn't even heard of this term at that time.) I am surprised by the process how I found a suitable career. I think this has been the most valuable thing I got from my PhD study. And I would like to thank WIN, my supervisor, and my RBC manager.  

What is your favourite thing about Waterloo (the city)?

Peaceful city and lovely animals.

What is the best place to get food near/on campus?

The MC store (in the math building). I think it is the nearest place to QNC, so I can get my food there quickly. 

What do you like to do when you're not doing research?

History, kayak, music.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks to WINGSS (especially to Jonathan). Thanks for your efforts to bring us together.