Describe your senior year in three words.
Unexpected. During my first few semesters, I found the coursework came easy to me. But the last semester was unexpected because it required me to spend much more time on my coursework. I was completing a thesis, and my courses had more of a workload than I expected.
Exciting, because I finally stepped into the field of quantum computation. I used to read books about it, but I didn’t really get a chance to work on projects and do some independent study in this field until now.
Grateful, because this year, in spite of COVID, I did gain a lot of things. I grew a lot and learned a lot. I feel grateful that I successfully graduated and was named valedictorian.
What does being valedictorian mean to you?
It’s an acknowledgment of all the work I’ve done at Lafayette.
What’s your favorite Lafayette memory?
I will always remember when I first came to Lafayette and attended the international student orientation. I found everyone in the group really friendly, and the orientation leaders were so helpful and caring. I felt at home when I got here, and I think that’s really important.
What’s the most impactful class you took?
I would say my senior thesis project I’ve been working on with Prof. Annemarie Exarhos. This is the first class I took in the field of quantum computation, and it required me to do independent study and conduct experiments in her lab. This has been really important because it is a cutting-edge field, and it’s really useful because I’m going to need this experience in my future career.
Who was the most influential person during your time at the College?
Prof. Annemarie Exarhos helped me in all different areas. She helped me throughout my graduate school application process this year, and she has guided me through a lot of coursework. Prof. Brooks Thomas was the first physics professor I had at Lafayette, and I have been doing research with him the past few years on dark matter. He introduced me to the field of research in physics, and that’s really important to me. I also want to thank my academic adviser, Prof. David Nice, who guided me through all my studies at Lafayette. Lastly, I want to thank my parents, my friends, and my girlfriend for their unconditional support during my studies.
What will you miss most about Laf?
I will miss the campus the most. Right now, I’m renting an apartment in a different place, and I’ve realized how convenient and how beautiful the campus is. You don’t need to worry about safety or crime, and you can just enjoy a casual walk on campus, which I cannot do at my apartment.
Describe your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.
It’s definitely the thesis I’ve been working on. I learned a lot of cutting-edge things about quantum computation, and I had to explain it in my own words to other people who have no previous knowledge of the field. I think I did a good job, because professors in other departments liked my thesis.
What do you wish for your fellow graduating classmates?
I wish that they get the ideal job or get into the ideal graduate school that they want to get into.
What advice would you give to your first-year self?
I would tell myself to keep believing in myself and never doubt myself.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with upcoming seniors?
Value this last year at Lafayette, because you will definitely miss it here when you step into society or go to graduate school.
How has Lafayette changed you?
I’ve definitely grown a lot, and college has made me a more sophisticated, well-rounded person.
How do you hope to change the world?
I want to dedicate myself to the digital revolution and quantum computers, and help create new and much more efficient ways of solving problems.
The most important thing you learned about yourself at Lafayette is:
I can do anything. When I was in high school, I was at the top of my class. My parents kind of warned me that, when I went to college, there would be other people who might be better than me, and I would need to work harder. When I came to Lafayette, I found that, with my effort and my talent, I could get to the top in any environment. I just need to believe in myself.