Ji Li watched in awe as more than 400 students, staff and faculty members came together on campus to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They dined on traditional Chinese food and watched traditional performances.
As president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), Ji had spent countless hours planning the event and finally, as the event came to an end, he realized he had seen his hard work pay off.
“This event has become very popular and famous on campus,” he said. “It was a really good chance to show our culture to everyone on campus and to unite Chinese students and staff.”
Ji’s work with CSSA goes far beyond promotion on campus. He also has used his position within the organization to become an unofficial university ambassador to Chinese students who are considering attending UM-Dearborn.
He leads an online chat group for potential students, highlighting the campus’s strengths and student success stories. He even helps students with their school and visa applications and arranges transportation from the airport to campus.
Ji’s most lasting contribution may not be with CSSA, though—it may be the work he’s doing in the lab.
Ji is studying how cancer cells respond to the changes in a microenvironment and how the responses vary between cancer cells of varying aggressive phenotype. Gargi Ghosh, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said improved understanding of the process will help identify better therapeutic strategies for breast cancer patients.
“He has excellent experimentation and analytical skills, which are assets for any aspiring research professional,” she said. “In a short period of time, he has made significant contributions to the research activities of our group.”
Ji will use the experience he has had at UM-Dearborn to apply for Ph.D. programs in bioengineering after he graduates so that he can continue his research in the future.
“In my mind, bioengineering is a kind of science that could contribute to all human beings,” he said. “I want to do something good for others.”