Yanshu Li, BS '11, PhD '16

"The professors in the EE department were very accessible to me. I received lots of guidance, even from professors other than my advisor. I gained a lot of technical experience owing to the state-of-the-art cleanroom facility, which prepared me well for my career as an R&D engineer."


 

Hometown: Beijing, China.

How did you choose to study electrical engineering?

I was fascinated by the rapidly developing nanotechnology in this era. Why everything behaves differently in nanoscale? Why in quantum world the common physics rules no longer hold? How nanotechnology can help human beings in their daily life? I don't want to be a thinker only, but a practitioner at the same time. This curiosity led me into a PhD program in nanotechnology in the EE department. 

What are your favorite aspects of or areas of interest in EE?

My area is nanotechnology for energy applications. Efficiency of solar cells has been moving slowly and nanotechnology has potentials to break through efficiency bottleneck. With nanotechnology, we can make solar cells high efficiency and more affordable.

What makes UB Electrical Engineering distinctive?

Electrical Engineering Department offers the state-of-the-art facility to student researchers. Students are receiving quality education and training. Professors in the EE department are well known for leading the cutting-edge research. Relatively high faculty-to-student ratio ensures that each student can have adequate attention and guidance from faculty members. The overall scholarly atmosphere is what I enjoyed the most in the EE department. 

Best experiences?

In the EE department, students are highly self-aware in running student organizations. I was fortunate to lead EEGSA (Electrical Engineering Graduate Student Association) and HKN Honor Society for different periods. We were able to hold lots of activities such as orientation luncheons, group skiing, job seminars, famous alumni lectures, and so on. Students are encouraged to initiate new events and take responsibility in organizing. 

Where do you live now?  What is your company and title?  What do you do in your job? 

I live in Sunnyvale California. I work as Device Development Engineer at Alta Devices. I'm leading the Dual-Junction solar cell project which aims at continuously breaking world record efficiency (we hold the current record).

How did your time as a student here prepare you for your career?

The professors in the EE department were very accessible to me. I received lots of guidance, even from professors other than my advisor. I gained a lot of technical experience owing to the state-of-the-art cleanroom facility, which prepared me well for my career as an R&D engineer.