|HKUST-Harvard Undergraduate Summer Exchange Research Program
Micky Chi Yee Chan
Computer Engineering Program (2015)
HKUST and Harvard, Summer 2014
Why did you apply to join the pilot HKUST-Harvard program?
I believed it was a great opportunity for me to learn about cutting-edge technology and make new friends. I feel fortunate to have been selected with so many smart students in the School. I am not great at getting good grades but I love working on group projects. I like research because I get to explore some of the latest technologies. This program, which let me work in a multicultural team, really appealed to me.
How many people could join the program and how long did it last?
A total of eight students, four from each university, spent one month at HKUST and one month at Harvard.
What did the research involve?
The project centered on visible light communication and there were two project themes, one on door locking and one on mining. I worked on the latter. In Hong Kong, we mainly learned about the design process and did some brainstorming. At Harvard, we worked on a prototype, undertaking testing and debugging.
Did the project go smoothly?
Not always! We quite often got stuck on technical problems. When this happened, we would have a cup of coffee, discuss, and start over. I really enjoyed this learning process and the teamwork involved.
Did you have time for social activities?
In Hong Kong, we took our US teammates to see the sights. In Boston, at the weekends, we explored the city. We even took a four-hour bus ride to New York, where we visited the Brooklyn Bridge, China Town, Statue of Liberty, and other places.
What did you gain from the program?
I learned a great deal from the Harvard students, in particular, their passion. Over those two months, I realized how enthusiastic they were and not afraid to try new things. Although most of the US students came from mechanical engineering, the project was more focused on electronic engineering. I saw how they devoted a lot of time to research, learning about circuits, and testing. They failed many times, but didn’t give up and, in the end, we accomplished two amazing projects.
What will you remember most?
Achieving great things is not about how smart you are. It is about not giving up.