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Student's creativity gives him an inside track on success

By SHI BAOYIN and QI XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-05 10:32

A Henan undergraduate was admitted to a PhD course at the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to study aerodynamics in Beijing due to his proven ability and creativity.

Yan Chang, 21, a senior graduate of the School of Mechanics and Engineering Science in Zhengzhou University, said he had joined a team researching "a moving model rig for high speed trains" with professors in Beijing.

"For me, it is also a mind-expanding experience and I am interested in doing research, " he said.

Curiosity is driving his ambition.

Wang Xiaofeng, Yan's head teacher in Zhengzhou University, said Yan's ability was outstanding, and he had an excellent team spirit.

As a team leader of the robotics laboratory, a technology innovation platform for undergraduates in Zhengzhou University, Yan said the laboratory was their home over the past four years.

"Most of us knew each other and struggled together as freshmen, but we also have 'new blood' joining us. We do experiments again and again, from daybreak to sunrise. We spend most of our summer or winter vocations in the laboratory," he said.

"The laboratory witnessed our growth, and we were proud of our camaraderie," Yan said with a smile.

He and his team won first prize in the 2015 RoboCup final, for underwater robots in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou province, competing with about 400 teams from more than 300 colleges around the nation and overseas.

"It is an international contest and has been held annually since 1999 with the idea of advancing the role of artificial intelligence. This competition broadened my horizons," he said.

Under the leadership of Yan, his team obtained five invention patents and 18 utility model patents, achieving more than 20 national-level scientific and technological innovation awards.

Yan has nimble hands even though his middle and ring fingers were joined at birth.

Yan was born in a small village of Xinyang, in Henan province. He underwent corrective surgery when he was 4 years old.

"My ability can be dated back to my childhood. When I was young, I would like to take toys apart and see what it was inside," he said.

A tai chi enthusiast, he said the discipline has helped him see the bigger picture in work and in life.

"Experiments may fail, sometimes, but tai chi gave me a positive mental attitude," he added.

Chen Hongye, secretary of the Communist Youth League of School of Mechanics and Engineering Science, said openness was good for innovation, and students communicating with other students and professors was a good way to brain storm.

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