2021



“2021,平安抵岸全靠’祂’。”

— Dongyang Li, 2021-12-31

2021 is a significant year in my life. I graduated from Purdue University in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree, a minor, and a Systems certificate. And thanks to a great opportunity, I will start working as the Senior Program Assistant in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Purdue University College of Engineering on January 3rd, 2022. I am also planning for graduate school as I assume my role in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

On New Year’s Eve, I can welcome the new year as I have a solid plan ahead. And I know the struggle I had in the past that brings about those positive changes. As I spent more than one year in China from Spring 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I took that as an opportunity to see what I will be able to achieve in this decade. So, I tried different things while I was in China, as the semesters were online. I moved out of my parent’s house and explored many places in the country. I pursued lifestyle change and adjusted my mindsets on many things. And I was graciously offered an undergraduate research opportunity by Professor Kenley to continue my tie with Purdue University. But all of those joys have led me to the realization of one important thing. Which is the question of where is my career at?

And that is where I realized that all of the pleasure and privileges I enjoy today is only provided by my parents, and I have to go back to my post, as a student at Purdue University and not only complete my studies but to extend to the next role, a position that I consider to be “on track to success”. So, I started planning my return to Purdue University in early 2021. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions on travel, there has to be a period of time for me to return to Purdue University, and I really struggled during that time. As the sense of urgency of getting back to my school grows day by day. I made thoughtful decisions and also made sure that I enjoyed my most unique experience in life so far. And the belief of getting back on track at Purdue University has been the guiding hope during my two weeks in Dubai, waiting for my flight back to Chicago.

The latter part of the year was truly a blessing, I was able to reconnect with Professor C. Robert Kenley, Professor Chien-Tsung Lu over the summer, and discussed key research areas with those Professors, while Prof. Kenley went on a field trip with me to the Western Texas deserts, where I met his extended family and interacted with many different people. And in August, my friend Jingjin Xu and Xuanbo Liu went on a road trip with me to Miami and I spent the month there reconnecting with friends and celebrating my 21st birthday, where I made the birthday wish that I hope I can figure out a solid philosophy and plan for my career and life.

My birthday wishes certainly prevailed, as I go back to campus for the last semester as an undergraduate student. I was quickly introduced to Professor Mahdi Hosseini, who asked me to join his group to work on the United States Department of Defense quantum computing project he is starting, and this opportunity, thanks to the referral of one of my first boss, and the most inspirational boss so far, Dr. Boshra Afra. Got me quickly back on track with my original goal, to have a career that will lead to success.

So, now with the new outlook, I will start working as the Senior Program Assistant in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Purdue University College of Engineering on January 3rd, 2022. I am also planning for graduate school as I assume my role in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The key thing I want to say about my struggles and gains in the year 2021 is, understand where your career is at and make things happen.