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Bai Zhiliang: To be a communicator of Tianjin University’s culture

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August 20, 2011 was my registration day in Tianjin University. Coming from a small town in Inner Mongolia, I felt rather lucky to be admitted into this school. Also, when I heard the wonderful thoughts shared by seniors, I realized it would be good to be a listener.  

However, after six years studying at Tianjin University, I discovered that in fact we are not just listeners. Everyone in the school is an author as well as a narrator. 

In October 2016, I was honored to be awarded the 100 Members of Talent Award, ranking ninth among the 32 winners in the country. At the awards dinner and the round-table forum, I illustrated my own experience and informed the American Chinese entrepreneurs, scholars, government officials as well as elite students from other universities about the outstanding academic status and top-notch academic strength of Tianjin University. At that moment, I realized that it is my responsibility to be a communicator of Tianjin University’s culture. 

In July 2017, I was admitted into the "Ziguang Pavilion" internship program of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League and delivered a speech at the launching ceremony as the only student spokesman in the nation, representing interns from 59 major universities. During my internship with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), I participated in the tasks of integrating and sharing the information system of the NDRC, and changed my identity from "an observer of government issues" to "a participant in the management of a rising power". On the first day of my internship, my supervisor was unfamiliar with Tianjin University, and when the month's work was over, they said of me, "The PhD student from Tianjin University is brilliant!” At that moment, I realized that it is my responsibility to be a practitioner of the spirit of Tianjin University. 

In September 2017, as the only student representative of Tianjin University, I followed the leaders of the Tianjin Education Commission to Liangjiahe Village, which is located in Shaanxi Province, to participate in the practice activities of "Recalling the Time of Educated Urban Youth Working in the Countryside and Practicing Patriotism".    I made another speech in the report meeting as one of the three student representatives. That was when I realized it is my responsibility to be a narrator of the stories in Tianjin University. 

From 2011 to 2017, as the leader of 15 student teams in six years, I devoted my youth to the work of Party building, volunteering, enrollment and employment, alumni service, innovation laboratory management and pilot college reform. 

For me, my Tianjin University story is the experience as an assistant of the president of the school, chairman of two associations, the experience of three foreign exchanges, four rounds of leading in the practice activities, five years as Party branch secretary, and six years as monitor of the class. 

If anyone asks me what the happiest moment for a Ph.D. is, I think it must be the appearance of my name in the top industry journals that I read every day. In March 2017, I published an article in one of the top Journals of SCI II as the first writer. This is the first paper published by Tianjin University in SCI II, since its inception in the research on the area of non-destructive testing of phased arrays in 2002.  

When I graduated from college in 2015, all the teachers and seniors told me that our research put too much emphasis on application and that it is very difficult to publish a research article. Even I felt like giving up myself when I could not come up with any new findings after days of experiments in the laboratory. However, although achievements in the work I love don’t come easily, I can persistently choose to persevere in the work I love. My weighted score is 92.61, with a GPA of 3.94, ranking first in my major. I have published 4 SCI papers and 2 EI papers, applied for 9 national invention patents, and won the 2017 State Doctorial Doctor Scholarship and Wang Kechang Special Scholarship. In a year and a half, I have met the requirements for a five-year Ph.D. In the past 6 years, my scholarship has amounted to 128 thousand yuan. 

If anyone asks me what the deepest impression of a doctor is, I think it is the solitude when I walk out of the lab every night, seeing my shadow under the dim street lamp along the campus road. It’s never easy to study as a Ph.D. student. However, unswervingly doing my own job to contribute to my motherland, which has driven innovation in recent years and publishing high-level research papers in the name of Tianjin University, is the best Tianjin University story I could tell. 

A month ago, I received an official invitation from a professor at Yale University and am going to conduct a two-year Ph.D. study in the United States next spring. 

During the 2285 days and nights in Tianjin University I cried, laughed, felt lost, and got rewarded, but in the end, the only feeling left to me is love. I loved it here. I am loving it here. I will always love it here regardless of where I go. 

In 2011, I told myself in the mirror I was happy to start a new life in Tianjin University. 

In 2017, my story with Tianjin University, still goes on. 

By: Chen Shupei 

Editors: Qin Mian and Keith Harrington