Photo for Feedback, 2010 JRI Summer Research

Feedback, 2010 JRI Summer Research Program at PKU

Program Summary  | List of Students | Feedback from the Students | Important Dates | Program Photos

Program Summary

Sponsored by UCLA-PKU Joint Research Institute (JRI) in Science and Engineering, the first Summer Research Exchange Program for students from UCLA to visit Peking University in China has achieved great success with strong support of both universities.

The 10-week program between June 21 and August 27, 2010 was designed for UCLA students to do research in various labs at PKU during summer period. The students were selected by UCLA according to their academic performance. PKU was glad to host nine students from UCLA to spend their summer in Beijing. Each student was required to work in a research lab fulltime with other local Master and PhD students to finish a research project designed by their advisors at PKU and UCLA. They also had opportunities to take 4-hour Chinese classes every week and to participate various sightseeing tours in and around the city during the weekends.

The program ended successfully on August 25, 2010 with a poster session, research presentations, and a closing dinner where students had opportunities to show their progress in both research and language & culture learning. Vice President Lin from PKU, Professors Jason Cong and Xiaoming Li, co-directors of JRI and other professors at PKU attended the session and was amazed by the students’ presentation telling about their experiences in Beijing.

All the students from UCLA had a wonderful and unforgettable time at PKU especially for those who were in Beijing for the first time. The 10-week program afforded them not only an opportunity to grow academically, but also a chance to expand their global perspective by being immersed in a completely different culture. As the survey completed after the program reveals, students are very grateful for the many exciting opportunities the JRI Summer Research Exchange Program gave them. All of them think highly of the program and would enthusiastically recommend it to their lab mates and friends.  Here are some quotes in the survey form by the students participated in the program.

Full version of the summary: download

List of Students

9 UCLA undergraduate & postgraduate students participated in the first summer exchange program at PKU in 2010.

Last Name

First Name


PKU Advisor

UCLA Advisor



Physics/Applied Mathematics

Xiaodong Hu

Christian Fronsdal


Peichi (Justin)

Materials Science & Engineering

Xiaodong Hu

Ya-Hong Xie




Elizabeth Lokin

Mingliang Pu



Computer Science

Songwu Lu

Xiaoming Li




James Bowie

Zeng-Yi Chang




Utpal Banerjee

Albert Cheung-Hoi Yu




Paula Diaconescu

Shao-Qing Cai



Computer Science

Eleazar Eskin

Li-Ping Wei




Computer Science

Songwu Lu


Feedback from the Students


Shirley Sui,
Undergraduate student, Medical School

“I learned what it is like to do research in a lab in Beijing - which is not all that different in most ways - and what it is like to live in Beijing.  PKU's students are not unlike my peers at UCLA, and conducting research at PKU has rewards and frustrations much like those you would experience in a lab at UCLA.  I've learned a lot about through PKU-UCLA JRI's Summer Research opportunity, and I am extremely grateful for this chance to experience both aspects of being a student on the other side of the globe. “ 


Katherine Rosen,
Undergraduate student, Biochemistry

“I would highly recommend this program to any student who has been dreaming of travelling abroad, but doesn’t want to sacrifice a summer’s worth of research! Over the summer, I learned what it was like to live in a country where I did not speak the primary language (at all); however, I was able to do so in a supportive environment since the other UCLA students in the program and the students in my lab at PKU spoke English. Through conversations with my lab-mates, I was able to learn about Chinese culture not just from a textbook but from students my age who have lived there their entire lives. Trying to interact with people in shops and restaurants while not speaking the same language was also a humbling experience, but I was able to get around and am pleased to be coming back with the confidence that I could live happily in China if job prospects take me there. In either case, I will definitely be making a return trip! “


Allison Wong,
Undergraduate student, Biochemistry

“I had an amazing experience, both culturally and with my research. I really appreciated the cultural exchange aspect. I cannot emphasize enough how enriching and valuable I found the language skills and cultural experience to be- that's a type of learning I could not really experience at any research institute in the US.”


Sheng Wei,
2nd year PhD student, Computer Science

“I think this is a great program. I would like to participate if there is another chance, and I would like to recommend this to my friends, especially those who want to do a great research project during summer, and who want to learn more about PKU and China.”


Robert Cunningham,
Undergraduate student, Physics/Applied Mathematics

“The experience of being in such a different social context for such a duration allowed me to learn so many things that there is no way I can begin to recite them here. It’s such an incredible experience.”


Peichi (Justin) Liu,
PhD student, Materials Science & Engineering

“The academic atmosphere in scientific research in PKU and the impressive improvement in Beijing city impressed me a lot. It's awesome and unforgettable journey to me, and I hope everyone can share our experience there.”


Zhanyong Wang,
1st year PhD student, Computer Science

 “The lab I stayed in is an open lab and we have many opportunities to communicate with pioneer scientists from all over the world. My advisor is a preeminent and nice professor. She gave excellent guidance to the students. All the students are working hardly and freely. The research topics here are interesting and practical. My research area is bioinformatics, which is an interdisciplinary of biology and computer science. In the lab in PKU, We focus on proposing and solving real biological or clinical problems; while in my lab in UCLA, we focus on developing efficient theories and algorithms to solve problems. I think these are two major directions of research. We have lots of real data from patients in PKU, and we develop efficient algorithms in UCLA. This also provides great opportunities for our two labs to collaborate in the future.”



Chunyi Peng ,
PhD student, Computer Science

"It is a great program. I appreciate such opportunity back to China and work with PKU professors. The project I was working on during the summer is related to my research direction and helps me to go deeper into my research work."



Drew Morton ,
Undergraduate student, Neuroscience

"This program offers a truly insightful adventure, both academically and culturally.  I was welcomed with open arms into an exciting and very well run lab with passionate professors and knowledgeable students eager to engage in conversation not only about the international scientific community and recent progress but also cultural differences.  Given the English proficiency, overwhelming hospitality, and shared interests of those in our labs, the university setting offered a wonderful base for UCLA students hoping to experience Beijing.  I applied to this program on a whim and was rewarded with new perspective, friendships, the confidence of knowing I can hold my own in any setting, and an abundance of stories.  The Joint Research Institute has provided me with perhaps the most defining episode of my collegiate experience."


Important Dates

  • June 19: Arrival in Beijing
  • June 21: Program begins
  • June 29: Welcome dinner
  • July 5: Chinese Language Class begins
  • July 10: City tour 1
  • July 24: City tour 2
  • August 7: City tour 3
  • August 27: Program ends


View Photos from the 2010 Exchange program including Welcome Session, Chinese Class, Research and Poster Session