Tan Zhang '13

Home: Beijing, China

MS Degree for 2013

Reasons for Choosing WPI:

I did a lot of research when choosing graduate program, considering the Electrical and Computer Engineering ranking, location, and most importantly, professors in power and energy area. When I first saw the Professor Alexander Emanuel’s faculty directory, I was touched by his word. After contacting with Professor Emanuel, he was so kind and knowledgeable and I knew right away that I will have an amazing study and experience at WPI. Simply to say, the reasons I choose WPI are listed below: 1. The reputation of ECE department at WPI is well known and popular. 2. The training and education received here would set up a smooth transition into the work force. 3. The small ratio of students to professors is good (About 14:1), students are easy to connect with professors (I heard all the professors in ECE department are friendly and willing to help students’ success, which I feel the same after one-year study).

Describe how WPI's Philosophy of Theory and Practice, as well as working with Teams, has been beneficial to you during your time at WPI:

I have deeply attracted by the education I received from WPI, even though I have only been here for one year. The motto: Lehr and Kunst (theory and practice) is awesome. Here at the ECE department, almost all the undergraduate classes have lab session and projects. As a teaching assistant for lab courses at undergraduate level, they are very well-organized and cooperated well with the lecture which is really helpful for students to understand the theory and its application. Also, at graduate level, many courses I took, such as ECE 514 and 529C, provide opportunities to participate in group projects. For example, ECE 529C (Noise analog), I successfully measured and shielded the noise in the metal detector system. And this project gave me the chance to really understand the material, exposure to more practical design than just being tested in paper exams.

What you consider to Be WPI's greatest Strengths, and things that make you proud to be a WPI Student:

There are too many things I love WPI, especially the ECE department. I would like to list items as below. 1. There are so many interesting courses, such as ECE 514, ECE 529C, ECE 4902, ECE 4904, ECE 539 with a special topic, which would make you love what you learn and enjoy every moment in class. 2. Atwater Kent Laboratories (AK) has the best working and social environment, here strangers become friends and friends become a family. I have met a lot of friends and we study together and help each others. There are too many memories to cherish. 3. WPI is small but that is the reason it is so attractive. You can meet many friends and get wherever you want in 5 minutes. 4. The meal plans at the resident and dining services are also gourmet. Good food will give you energy to study hard (I love DAKA).

Briefly discuss an experience you have had with a WPI faculty member:

It is hard to choose only one professor because there are so many wonderful professors in at the ECE department. For me, I would say I have a wonderful time with Prof. Emanuel. He is a mentor of your life. Whenever I chat with him, I not only learn the technology knowledge, but also the lesson of life. He respects everyone in his life and is willing to give his help whenever you need (I am touched by this). I remember one day, he started the lab session in the early morning, after three hours lab, he went to help his students with their homework. On the same day, I approached him with questions about my research, and he immediately found a table and sat down to discuss. Toward the end of our discussion, I just realized he even did not have the time to eat lunch, I was deeply moved. He is such a wonderful professor who has the most beautiful soul.

Was a specific professor especially enthusiastic about the subject matter?

Besides Prof. Emanuel, I would also like to say Prof. Makarov is really enthusiastic about his research even through I did not have any class with him before. I heard a lot of my friends who took ECE 2010 with him said he is amazing, so energetic about his topics. For me, I saw he always come to WPI around 7:00 A.M and leave around 11 P.M (almost everyday). There are two bonus lectures I took with him after D term 2012, and they are so awesome. I enjoyed his lectures so much because I can feel his love of his research and he is trying to let every audience feel the beauty of his topics. I am looking forward to have a class with him next year.

Did he or she offer extra help if needed?

Yes. Although I did not have the class with him before, when I had a problem with my ECE 529C project, he is willing to have extra time to discuss with me, and I also heard a lot of similar stories from many of my friends.

Did this professor take an interest in your success?

Yes. Actually, every professor I connect with in ECE department WPI is willing to give their help for your success (i.e: Prof. Orr, Prof. McNeill, Prof. Bitar, Prof. Ludwig etc).

Describe any research projects you are involved with at WPI:

My project topic is energy storage application in distribution system with renewable energy sources, which our goals are maximizing the power system’s operational efficiency and reducing the electricity cost, maintaining the system voltage as well as improving power quality.

Name any faculty members you are working with:

Prof. Orr and Prof. Emanuel

What you hope to do when you graduate:

My plan is to find a job in my interested areas (i.e: Power, analog), use the knowledge I have learned from research and classes. After several years of industry experience, I would love to continue my education with a PHD degree focusing on the topic I am interested most, and then pursue it. Eventually I would like to become a professor and make contribution to community.

Groups or extracurricular activities in which you participate at WPI:

I love sports, such as the WPI men’s crew team and run marathon, and also singing.

Additional comments you would like to include:

I would like to have my favorite professor’s motto as an end: “Everyday is a gift, make the best use of it.”

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