[People of UIC] Stories behind publications: So many to learn while so many to thank

Published on 27 June 2022

Publication is never an easy job for a scholar. However, four UIC students: Mai Jiayi, Hua Fengrui, Yin Jiaying and Huang Jingyuan, have made their names known in the academic world by publishing their papers on a global stage. We hope to unveil the secrets of their laurels via their sharing.

Mai Jiayi: Learn from daily life

Mai Jiayi is a fourth-year student in the English Language and Literature Studies (ELLS) Programme at UIC.

After her fourth-year training at UIC, she is admitted by the National University of Singapore (NUS)'s English Language and Linguistics Programme with an outstanding profile.

Before stepping further into the academic field, Mai's interest in second language acquisition was inspired by UIC's English-teaching environment:

"It has imparted confidence to me in exchanging ideas with professors and classmates in my second language. Therefore, I was fascinated by my change and determined to figure out whether my case can be adapted to others."

Mai participates in research projects related to the development of English textbooks

Supported by her supervisor, Mai started to study the connections between the English-teaching environment, perceived competence and communication apprehension in her final year project (FYP). Finally, her research paper was accepted by the 2022 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education (ICOIE 2022).

Mai with her FYP supervisor, Acting Associate Dean (Learning, Teaching, and Student Experience), Programme Director of ELLS, Prof John Corbett

When reviewing the project, Mai said: "Daily life is full of potential academic breakthroughs, as long as one is sensitive enough to catch them."

Hua Fengrui: Try everything

For Hua Fengrui, a fourth-year student in the Data Science Programme at UIC, his academic interest lies in UIC's interdisciplinary course setting.

Hua is an energetic cross-field specialist: "Deep down, I am a FinTech enthusiast, and it requires knowledge from cross-cutting areas. Fortunately, UIC's curriculum makes interdisciplinary learning possible."

To fulfil his eagerness for knowledge, besides the major required courses of his programme, Hua also chose courses related to economy and finance provided by the Division of Business and Management (DBM).

For his FYP, which is interdisciplinary research in data science and business, he also gained support from DBM's teacher.

Hua Fengrui (second from left) with his teammates and supervisors, Associate Professor Dr Jude Zhu (first from right) and Dr Hu Yujia (first from left), after his thesis defence

With his numerous efforts, he has won multiple awards at a national level during his four-year study at UIC. In his third year, his paper was accepted by the 2021 4th International Conference on Computer Information Science and Artificial Intelligence (CISAI 2021).

Hua Fengrui (third from the left, back row) participates in a project using AI and Multimodal Data Processing to recognise guqin's music scores, supported by the Guangdong Government

Now he is admitted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) as an MPhil in Data Science, continuing to "learn more, try more."

Mai Jiayi and Hua Fengrui

Yin Jiaying: My team is my incredible support

Yin Jiaying is a fourth-year student in the Statistics Programme at UIC who published a paper at the 21st International Conference on Algorithms and Architectures for Parallel Processing (ICA3PP 2021) as the first author.

Yin Jiaying presents her paper at ICA3PP 2021

But she was only changed to the programme in her second year and acknowledged UIC's supportive teachers for their guidance.

With her supervisor's help, Yin successfully joined a research group as an academic assistant to study Cloud Computing and Fog Computing after changing her major. Eventually, she became the group leader and got recognised internationally.

Yin Jiaying (second from left, front row) with research group members and supervisor Associate Professor Dr Timothy Wu (third from left, front row)

Yin expressed her gratitude to her supervisor: "Dr Timothy Wu is always there to instruct me through the academic labyrinth whenever I felt lost. He has been a great support to my achievement."

Yin will go to the University of Hong Kong to learn more about Public Health, and she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the future.

Huang Jingyuan: Academic freedom makes mind thrive

One of UIC's key features is its free academic environment. It has benefited many, including Huang Jingyuan.

Huang is a fourth-year student in ELLS at UIC, and her FYP got accepted by the ICOIE 2022, studying bilingual education for children in China.

Huang Jingyuan with her FYP at the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS)'s exhibition

"Thanks to the high degree of freedom in academic research offered by our programme, I am able to explore topics of interest," Huang said.

She told us that she had long decided to dig into second language acquisition in her third year. Accordingly, she had seized every chance to research and deepen her understanding, whether through essay assignments, group projects or extracurricular activities.

Huang Jingyuan accumulates experience in bilingual teaching in extracurricular activities

"I have encountered obstacles during my research, in questionnaire design, data collection, and more. Conducting academic research is full of challenges," Huang said. But she managed to conquer all the problems and reach her destination.

Huang now is admitted by the University College London to study Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and she hopes to continue to combine teaching practice with research theory.


Reporter: Cecilia Yu

Photos provided by the interviewees

Editor: Deen He

Updated on 5 July 2022
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