Huiyong Li

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Degree pursuing: PhD in energy, environmental & chemical engineering
Hometown: China

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
Dual bachelor's degree: I earned a BS in chemical engineering at Rutgers University and a BEng in Energy Engineering and Automation at the South China University of Technology.

Please provide your lab and description of research.
The Foston Lab in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. Mechano-chemical correlations in plant cell walls, novel production of cellulose-soy protein and model cell wall nanocomposites, mechano-chemical changes in the extracellular matrices of hepatic stellate cells in response to the stiffness of synthetic scaffolds, and tension wood formation.

What played into your decision to get a graduate engineering degree?
I would like to chase after a higher level of knowledge and dive deeper into the understanding of chemical processes and their applications. A more advanced degree can allow me to learn more about the ongoing research projects that can help me to contribute to the renewable energy future.

Why did you pick WashU?
WashU had a better academic reputation and was more of a match to my past research experiences.

What was your favorite course and why?
Multivariate statistical analysis because it allowed me to explore a statistical field that can help us understand the data we derived from chemical engineering research.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
Srikanth Singamaneni because he teaches basic knowledge about material subjects that assist us with understanding the underlying chemistry in real practice.

What advice would you give to a new student?
Be patient and explore different courses that can provide you with more diverse techniques. Also, try to break your limits as you are a graduate student that can learn a ton.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
It's not too cold, it’s a middle-sized city with reasonable living expenses and city life, including Forest Park.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
The gym, tennis courts, student associations (such as EECE’s Graduate Student Council), sport clubs (such as badminton clubs) and departmental study rooms. Try to utilize office spaces as much as you can! They are very convenient and helpful for relaxation.

Are there any not-for-profit agencies that you have volunteered or worked with?
Yes. I volunteered to serve the disabled, the elderly and underrepresented racial groups. Those helped me realize the importance of serving the whole society and how our knowledge/abilities can contribute to the society we live in.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to chase after a research-based career, either research scientist at a company or a research-based career at a university or national lab after graduating with my PhD.