Yue Gong, PhD Candidate

Hometown: Changchun, China

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
WPI is a very strong college focusing on science and engineering, with a good reputation and ranking.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
I interned this summer at a startup as a developer. Thanks to experiences and skills I've obtained from WPI and the ASSISTments project, I was able to quickly catch up and join the team. When I left, I received positive reviews, calling me a “productive contributor to the project.”

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
Students are very well educated here and given numerous opportunities to participate in real projects. WPI considers both the educational value and practical value. I am finding the skills and knowledge obtained here quite easy to apply to the workplace.

How have the professors in your department impacted your studies and your life?
I would have to say I have had many good experiences in working with my primary adviser, Joseph Beck. When I wrote my first paper, Professor Beck helped in advising me how to write a paper following conventions required by our research community, as well as addressing standard English issues. He revised several versions of drafts and showed me how to improve. In order to make my deadline, he edited and helped me revise the paper even after midnight. I appreciated it very much. He is a responsible and caring professor.

What are your projects?
I fully enjoy my involvement in the ASSISTments project with Professor Heffernan and Professor Beck. ASSISTments is Web-based software and also a research platform. I am doing both development and research work. I think the great thing about ASSISTments is that it can provide a broad platform to focus on whatever you like in computer science. For example, some lab mates like software engineering, while others have interests in research, learning science, education, and computer science. They all can find a spot for themselves.

I enjoy the experiences in both of my tasks. With the development work, my coding skills are practiced and enhanced. With the research work, I better understand science. I focus on a project called WEBsistments, where we provide Web resources with high educational value, detected in a data-driven manner, as a teaching tool to ASSISTments users. The system can not only help students practice problems, but also teach them the topics they have trouble with.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
I’d like to be a software engineer.

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Carl and Inez Weidenmiller Endowed Fellowship in 2009-2010.
  • Nominated for Best Student Paper:
    Gong, Y., Beck, J. & Heffernan, N. “Comparing Knowledge Tracing and Performance Factor Analysis by Using Multiple Model Fitting.” Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems. pp. 35-44. 2010.
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