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A Division of the International Studies Office

ISO Graduation Awards

May 20, 2022

ISO Graduation Award Recipients 2022

Chang Liu

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

Five years study in UVa has given me great training not only in knowledge and skills in research, but also in scientific logic thinking. I feel very lucky to meet so many great researchers in our university and have learned a lot from my advisor, collaborators and colleagues. They have inspired me a lot and catalyzed my aspiration. 

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

I will pursue my future career in clean energy conversion in academia and hope to become a professor in one university. 

What will you miss about UVA? 

I can image that I will miss the lawn and Rotunda most. I will also miss our chemistry building room 280, where I have a great memory of my study and friendship. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

I suggest that it could be beneficial for their career and study to have an open mind in their study and work and not be too nervous about the new environment. 

Yiling Jia

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

My Ph.D. study at UVA were really rewarding. UVA is a great place to meet and talk to people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. I got the chance to connect with renowned scientists, and professors. During my Ph.D. study at HCDM lab, l learned a lot from my advisor and all my lab-mates. I really enjoyed having discussions with them no matter it is about research or daily life, which has greatly broaden my mind. All the experience has turned me into a person with critical thinking and open-mindedness, which I will cherish for a lifetime. 

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

My research mainly focuses on improving the reliability of modern information systems, with a special focus on handling biased information. I see myself continuing to use my knowledge and experience to build better eco-systems between humans and artificial intelligence systems. 

What will you miss about UVA? 

Everything and Einstein Bros. Bagels! 

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

Studying aboard is very challenging and exciting at the same time. Be confident and seize the opportunity to enrich yourself. 

Roza Przanowska

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

I have grown scientifically as well as met plenty of wonderful people. During my PhD studies I have learned a lot of new techniques and new bioinformatic skills and published three first-author publications. That together with the NCI F99/K00 Award allowed me for a smooth transition to the postdoctoral position. All the experience obtained at UVA prepares me well for my future career in an academic setting. 

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

I hope that in 5 years I will start my own research group that will focus on the role of non-coding RNAs in health and disease. My dream is to become a Principal Investigator but I do not know where and when exactly that will happen. For sure we will find the best place for our whole family to live and enjoy ourselves. 

What will you miss about UVA? 

Since I continue my  postdoctoral career here at UVA in Dr. Kevin Janes laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, I do not miss UVA yet. If I were to live somewhere else by now, I would definitely miss UVA supportive and collaborative environment, as well as its beautiful location. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

I will rephrase after Maria Sklodowska-Curie "After all, science is essentially international and you play an important part in it!". Always remember about your role in improving the understanding of our world and let go of self-pity. 

Seun Adeboro

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

My UVA experience is very rich across many dimensions. I had a great time while studying here. At the beginning of my MBA program, I set many goals for myself including learning more about business, exploring Charlottesville, and meeting people from all over the world. While I achieved these goals satisfactorily, the one that I didn’t think of is the one I found most meaningful. I have discovered more about myself and the things that are important to me. I now understand that I perform at my best when I am myself despite the cultural differences that exist in the world.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

Right now I am focused on my immediate next steps after graduation. I will be moving to Austin Texas to start my career in Asset Management with PIMCO. I see myself still working there in five years all things equal. I also want to be in a position where I can contribute to human capital development in Africa starting in Nigeria. Africa has lots of young talents that can help the continent achieve its full potential.  

What will you miss about UVA? 

I enjoy the weekly soccer games with the Darden soccer club. It is usually a fun time and I will definitely miss that. I am new to watching football and this past season, I made effort to attend as many UVA home football games. I will miss the tailgates and football games. I love the energy in the stadium.  

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

Coming to a program where most people don’t look or speak like you can make one doubt their ability. One thing I would say is that the way you speak or the way you look doesn’t affect your cognitive ability. Come to UVA as you are and be your authentic self. You should also be open to learning about other cultures and thinking. School is all about learning new things and unlearning old things.

Natchanon Sittipongpittaya

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

I learned to ask for advice and take constructive criticisms. I also learned that perseverance pays off in the long run. 

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

I will be pursuing a PhD for the next 5 years, so I hope to see myself continuing to enjoy doing research. 

What will you miss about UVA? 

I will miss eating lunch from the food trucks at the Amphitheatre. It's a nice place to relax between classes. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

To new international students, don't let the new surroundings intimidate you. If something sounds even remotely interesting to you, just be confident and explore it. In the worst case, you realize you don't like it and walk away. But when you do find something that clicks for you, you'll realize that it was worth all the effort to find it. 

Zhihan Yang

What have you gotten out of your experience at UVA? 

The most valuable parts of my experience at UVA are the friendships and communities that supported me through the past few years. During the remote learning semesters, although my support network has left Grounds for home, I know that my friends are always one phone call away. I also had the opportunity to help to build an international student community that is stronger and greater than ever. Working with the amazing team on Student Council, we built bridges across people from diverse backgrounds and all over the world. 

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years? 

5 years is a long period of time. Although I might not be sure of the exact career path I will be pursuing , I'm certain that UVA has prepared to take on challenges when they arise and catch opportunities when they come. Perhaps I will still be at UVA pursuing another degree as a double Hoo? 

What will you miss about UVA? 

Beside my friends who I will miss dearly, I will definitely miss the beautiful Grounds. It is a special place for all UVA students I believe, and it has transcendental meaning beyond the physical buildings of the Academical Village. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new international student? 

Be open minded. You will encounter different ideas, cultures, subjects, theories, and languages during your time here at UVA both in and outside of classrooms. Don’t be afraid of going out of your comfort zone to seek new opportunities and make new friends. UVA is a diverse place. Embrace it and celebrate it.