Photo for Celebrating summer research at PKU

UCLA students posing with statue. Photo courtesy Brian Dang. Summer 2014

Celebrating summer research at PKU

UCLA students just finished an important summer in their lives and in the growing partnership between UCLA and Peking University (PKU). JRI’s unique study abroad program allows qualified science and engineering students to spend ten weeks in Beijing working on individual research projects under the guidance of PKU faculty members.  JRI co-directors Xiaoming Li (PKU) and Jason Cong (UCLA) attended the closing ceremony of the fifth Summer Research Program on August 28.

“I'm happy to say my experience was a once in a life time opportunity that I am most grateful for!” said Calvin Wong, a graduate student in Environmental Health Sciences. A lot of work with a big emphasis on free-time play, the Summer Research Program at PKU (SRP) gives UCLA students a valuable cultural experience many would not otherwise get during college or university. At the end of the summer, the fifteen UCLA students, ranging from third year undergraduates to PhD graduate students, presented the fruits of their research, twice-weekly Chinese classes, and excursions in and around Beijing.

Science majors and PhD students at UCLA have little opportunity to fulfill academic requirements and also go abroad. Fortunately, many students are recognizing the importance of an international experience, especially in China, and JRI wants to meet the demand. “I was able to have an intense 10 week research experience most people don't have. My lab group was one of the top environmental air pollution labs and having to work at their pace and intensity was very beneficial to my research skills,” said Wong. “I would recommend this experience to my classmates because the environment is vastly different in China than in the US… plus many of our professors already collaborate and visit Asia for their research.”

This summer was the largest group in SRP’s five year history. In the past, there were 12 fellowships for 12 students. For the first time, JRI took three students without fellowships and is working on growing financial support for all eligible students. With a shared mission to educate future leaders with a global perspective, both universities believe in the value of SRP.  To that end, a new program is in the works: a reciprocal program at UCLA for PKU students. JRI aims to offer the new program beginning summer 2015.