Originally from China, Sai got her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Beijing Normal University. Now, Sai is a third year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. When she's not studying, Sai likes to watch movies, read, and cook.
When did you know you wanted to study Electrical Engineering?
I've wanted to study Computer Science since high school. But when I was pursuing my master's degree, I developed a great interest in signal and image processing and I realized that Electrical Engineering provides opportunities to enhance my abilities to do research in this field. So I decided to transfer from Computer Science to Electrical Engineering.
Are you part of any labs, clubs or organizations on campus?
I am part of the Machine Learning and Signal Processing Lab, directed by Dr. Tulay Adali.
What are you researching for your thesis?
For my thesis, I am working on the statistical and data-driven approaches for biomedical image analysis, especially for fMRI data.
Are you involved in any other research projects?
Most of my projects are focused on biomedical image processing. I also developed a MATLAB toolbox for the performance comparison of ICA algorithms.
What are your plans after graduation?
After my graduation, I plan to find a teaching and/or research position in a university.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to work in academic environment as a professor of Electrical Engineering.
On UMBC and CSEE…
What was your first impression of UMBC?
When I visited UMBC for the first time, I found that it is an international campus consisting of students from various countries.
Why did you choose UMBC?
I started at UMBC in 2009. I chose UMBC because of its excellent graduate program for Electrical Engineering. Also, my advisor, Dr. Tulay Adali, was an important reason for me to decide to study at UMBC.
What was your first Electrical Engineering Course?
My first Electrical Engineering course was Detection and Estimation Theory, taught by Dr. Tulay Adali.
What was your favorite Electrical Engineering Course?
My favorite Electrical Engineering course is Special Topics, which provides a chance to understand a number of interesting and challenging problems and research topics in EE. I recommend this course and the graduate seminar.
What do you like about the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department?
I like the professors in Electrical Engineering most since they are all very kind and willing to help students.
How would you describe the professors in the department?
The professors in Electrical Engineering are all very nice and patient. They are willing to help students not only in their studies but also in other aspects to enhance students' abilities. For example, they helped me a lot with my written English.
What advice would you give to incoming graduate students?
My advice, also to myself, is to always be brave to ask questions, meet new friends, and talk to senior students and professors as much as possible.