Jiale Xu, PhD '20

assistant professor - Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

North Dakota State University

Jiale Xu, UB alumnus, North Dakota State University faculty photo.

Jiale Xu, UB alumnus '20, recently accepted an assistant professor position at North Dakota State University

Jiale Xu completed his PhD in Civil Engineering with UB in 2020. Prior to his current Assistant Professor position at North Dakota State University in 2022, Jiale served as a postdoctoral reasearch associate at the University at Arizona and was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech. Dr. Xu's research interests are focused on applying environmental and analytical chemistry to assess and control the impacts of emeraging contaminants on drinking water and reused wastewater. 
We caught up with Jiale to ask him a few questions about his new position and how he feels UB has impacted his career accomplishments:
1. What has been your favorite aspect of joining the faculty at North Dakota State University?
NDSU and our department are very supportive to junior faculty. My colleagues always unselfishly provide tips to me on how to adapt to a new environment. In the first three months, senior faculty at NDSU organized around 10 panels to share their experience on teaching, mentoring, research, and other resources at NDSU with us. Their advice is very helpful and inspiring.


2. Name the most interesting thing you’ve learned about North Dakota since accepting your new position.

North America’s geographical center is located in the State of North Dakota in a town called Rugby. It is an interesting place to visit.


3. What would be your piece of advice to students interested in pursuing a career in academia?

The most important piece of advice for finding a job in academia - believe in yourself and never give up. It is usually challenging in the early stage of your graduate research. You may spend one or two years finding a great research idea, designing a functional experimental system, have research progress, and publish your first paper. However, these valuable experiences build the foundation for you to be a successful researcher and you will benefit forever. You may also hesitate when friends and colleagues find jobs in the industry. It may take a long time to get your first phone interview and your first on-site interview. Rejection emails may fill out your inbox. However, always remember there is a dream academic job waiting for you. Never give up.


4. What did you enjoy most about the University at Buffalo or living in Buffalo, NY?

UB provides one of the most collaborative research environments in my past experience. Many professors supported me to conduct advanced water treatment research. I have used instruments in CBE, the Department of Geology, the Department of Chemistry, and many others. I cherish and value every moment at UB.

Buffalo is an energetic city. I enjoyed traveling to Niagara Falls and Broderick Park, watching games of Sabres and Bills, and having delicious Buffalo wings. There are too many to say. I loved living in Buffalo.


5. How do you feel the University at Buffalo prepared you for your future?

UB is not only the start but the most important step in my research career. I built up my fundamental skills at UB to conduct advanced water treatment research. Particularly, I learned state-of-the-art technologies to tackle global environmental issues. UB is the leading university in research and professors are always focusing on new technologies that can advance our society. Additionally, UB has an inclusive environment with students from diverse backgrounds. In the ENVE program, students were from the US, China, India, Bangladesh, Korea, Jamaica, and many other countries. Working in such an environment helped me to learn how to interact, work together, and collaborate with different people. Lastly, UB has many opportunities for research and other activities for students, which benefited me a lot. For example, the Mark Diamond Research Fund supported me on a project that established my skills in conducting independent research work. Also, I was a secretary of the graduate student chapter of the Environmental and Water Resource Institute Student club, from which I accumulated experience in how to manage and lead a team.