UIC alum pass on power through knowledge

Meet Guo Jiayue, Qin Sang, and Sun Lang - three distinguished UIC alumni who have made significant strides in their respective fields. Now, they are taking teaching positions at prestigious universities.

Pursuing excellence in nutrition and health

Guo Jiayue is a UIC student of the Class of 2018, and is currently employed at China Agricultural University, where she is the youngest Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health. Recalling her time at UIC, Guo was filled with memories of combining research life and extracurricular activities.


She said her interest in scientific experimentation was discovered in her second year of the Food Science and Technology Programme. Under the guidance of Prof Xu Baojun, she completed and published two research projects in SCI journals in her final year, and was admitted to the PhD programme in Human Nutrition at the University of Alabama with Prof Xu's recommendation. Within four years, she completed her doctoral studies, published 18 SCI topical papers, participated in 23 international conferences, and was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Student in Research Award while being recognised as an SEC Emerging Scholar.

Later, as a postdoctoral researcher, she joined the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. She managed to apply for the Research Training Grant issued by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Behind her achievement were great efforts, said Guo, who had conquered tremendous pressure and hurdles. She said there was no shortcut to growth, and "it's a never-ending path that requires constant progress."

Upholding integrity in academic research

Qin Sang is a UIC student of the Class of 2014, and is currently employed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor at the School of Education. Speaking about UIC, she was grateful for her four-year study in the Applied Psychology Programme.


She was still impressed by her thesis supervisor Dr Kuo Yi-Lung, who had set a good example for her about respect for others' intellectual output and academic integrity at UIC. At the time, she and her classmates needed to design questionnaires for their thesis. To encourage academic integrity, Dr Kuo spent the holidays preparing and carrying back two large stacks of published scale questionnaires for everyone to choose from. "It's crucial to set a proper moral base before digging further into the academic field," Qin said.

Bearing this in mind, she graduated from the MS in Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling at Illinois Institute of Technology as a Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor (CRC), and continued to pursue her doctoral degree with Patrick Corrigan, a renowned professor of psychology there after working a year in the state of Virginia, providing services for people with disabilities. By far, she has published over 20 papers and attended more than 30 conferences.

Learning is a lifelong journey

Sun Lang is a UIC student of the Class of 2016, and is currently employed by the Central South University as a lecturer in the School of Basic Medical Sciences. Looking back to her time at UIC's Food Science and Technology Programme, Sun said the well-equipped laboratories had brought her many scientific inspirations.


She mentioned that students were given ample opportunities to use and operate them and expressed her gratitude to UIC's teachers, Prof Lei Bo and Prof Xu Baojun, for their support and help.

After graduating from UIC, she went on to Cornell University where she gained her master's degree in Food Science and gained her PhD from the Department of Animal Science-Food Microbiology and Safety Area of Concentration of the University of Connecticut.

Now, working at Central South University, she takes time out from her busy research, teaching and administrative work to enrich her medical knowledge and improve her teaching skills. She often observed senior teachers teaching and noticed that the proportion of online and offline teaching modes has increased, and experiments could be conducted online through virtual classrooms.


Reporter: Cecilia Yu

Photos provided by the interviewees

Editor: Deen He