2017 International Student Scholarship Winners

BETiNs International Student Scholarship

Zichen Xiao

Since I was really young, natural sciences and technology are the most intriguing to me. Every time when the small television in our old apartment broadcasted stories about some unique phenomena in outer space, I could not look away and watched until the program finished. So when I received the International Dean’s Scholarship, which allowed me to join University of Southern California almost 6 years ago, I really appreciated the chance to come to the US and pursue my study in science and engineering field.

In my sophomore year, I have decided choosing mechanical engineering to be my major. From material sciences, heat transfer to dynamic systems, I gradually find the real me behind countless equations, calculations and analyses. But there is one question that always hovers: I have results, then what? In addition, having too much experience in getting lost in various scientific and engineering seminars and having trouble figuring out how to use some technology products, I started to think about if there is a more effective way to communicate information, especially technical information.

When I discovered the Science Visualization minor in cinematic arts school, I knew I found the tool I needed. Art starts where engineering ends. How fun and intriguing of one presentation will be if a scientific or engineering process can be modeled using the form of animation for example? How cool would it be if all the technology products can be self-explanatory that can be used by a 5-year kid, just like iPad?

Therefore, in the last 2 years in college, I dedicated myself into both technology and visualization. But apparently nothing is easy to achieve: from spending more than 20 hours on the final project to come up with a simple animation clip of less than 8 seconds, to designing a new football helmet using Maya and experimenting on its anti-concussion ability after 3d printing it, I finally graduated from USC as a Renaissance Scholar with 2 degrees on hand. Then after working almost 2 years in industry doing machine design, I made another decision to go back to school to continue perusing the beauty of technology and design. I am super exited about my upcoming graduate school life at UC Berkeley and I believe I will become a better visionary after such investment in myself. In the end, abstraction plus precision, art and engineering help me see problems from two perspectives of views and help me become, in my words, an elegant engineer.

BETiNS, thank you so much for keep encouraging international students like me to pursue our academic and personal goals on the land of America and I really hope there are more companies like you to inspire more motivated students in the future.