With the highest ranking GPA in the Department of Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), among his many other incredible achievements, there is no wonder that He Zilong received plenty of offers to complete his Ph.D. at top universities around the world.
As a young man who has earned many accolades, such as the 3M Fellowship, 2 first-class scholarships to SUSTech, and winner of the SUSTech student debate contest, He Zilong has encompassed many different labels during his bountiful life at SUSTech. His aim on arriving at SUSTech four years ago was to feel happy and fulfilled. He has now achieved his dream, and will pursue a new one.
He Zilong struggled to find a direction for himself at the first opportunity. SUSTech’s 1+3 and 2+2 educational models give undergraduates plenty of time to explore different areas, along with encouraging them to get into laboratories in their first year to develop a more in-depth knowledge of potential fields of interest. He spent time in a laboratory in the Department of Physics in his first year, but found that this did not fulfill him, so he decided to head towards mechanics.
He found a tutor in MAE Professor Deng Weiwei. “The faculty at SUSTech was very helpful in so many different ways. Professor Deng was my academic tutor, and I had long been impressed by his writing. It only took me a week to decide to become a student of Professor Deng, learning about the Department and what I could do in it.”
Professor Deng had an enormous influence on He Zilong, particularly when it comes to scientific research. He Zilong would often work with Professor Deng in the laboratory on the weekends, listening to the guidance provided by his tutor and other faculty members. “The faculty members are very experienced, and were able to help me when I was confused. Professor Deng was a guiding light for me. At one time, I struggled with some repetitive experiments and Professor Deng took me to the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) lab, pointing out that their iterative process of airplane construction is an example of accumulating knowledge as part of the scientific process. By finding something important to you, you will continue to work to get it.”
Not only was Professor Deng an important influence on He Zilong, but his many overseas exchanges broadened his horizons. He took 5 exchanges in total, enhanced by the English teaching environment at SUSTech, which also saw him score 103 out of 120 in his TOEFL exams. He Zilong received excellent feedback from his supervisors at both Yale University and MIT, while he took part in significant research.
He Zilong reflected on his time at Yale University, where he experimented on electrostatic spray devices. The lack of a precise mobile platform that could be easily manipulated meant that He Zilong had to repeatedly assemble and disassemble the experimental equipment, with needles being inserted into tubes like threading sewing needles. Despite these challenges, He Zilong put his mind to it, setting aside the difficulties in order to overcome challenges to try and achieve the results he wanted.
With a mind for scientific research and academic exchanges, SUSTech students have always had a thirst for learning, and many learn in their own ways. He Zilong prefers to absorb himself in textbooks, concentrating on the knowledge printed on the pages. His wholehearted absorption into a subject is, in his opinion, the best way to maximize the academic efficiency.
However, He Zilong was not solely an academic mastermind. He also enjoyed a rich extracurricular life, taking part in debate contests and volunteer service. The voluntary service was most prominent at a variety of international conferences, including the 2018 Times Higher Education (THE) Asia Summit, hosted by SUSTech. He Zilong took these opportunities to practice his English, become more self-confident and become more knowledgeable about the world. His experience competing in debate contests encouraged him to think logically and rigorously, and he believes that this will help him in the future.
He Zilong also oversaw many significant changes while he was at SUSTech. He saw the first joint activity of students from the Shenzhen campus of Harbin Institute of Technology, the first students from the Xili Campus of Shenzhen University at the SUSTech New Years Eve Party, and other such activities.
He Zilong has set high standards for himself. As a young man used to excellence, he is now integrated into an open and inclusive world in Shenzhen. He Zilong will take an academic path out of Shenzhen to discover a bigger world.
Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub
Proofread ByXia Yingying
Photo BySupplied, Qiu Yan