March 4, 2020
Amy Tang was born in Shenyang, China, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She was an undergraduate physics student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. We interviewed her about her experiences below.
What have you been studying or researching as part of your program?
My research is on developing superconducting detectors, which are used to observe the light during the early universe.
Why did you choose the University of Chicago?
I chose the University of Chicago mainly because of its strong program in cosmology. As a prospective student, there were a number of faculty working on very exciting research that interested me. In addition, I really liked the atmosphere of the department during my visit. Everyone I talked to was very friendly and open.
Please describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.
Rather than pinpointing to a specific incidence or event as an accomplishment, I think it’s important to recognize the everyday struggles of research. In this regard, I’m proud of the way I’m persistent in my work. In the moments when something goes wrong and weeks of hard work go to waste, I’m proud that I don’t give up and continue to pursue my research goals.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
I’m a bit of a foodie. In my spare time, I like to cook and try out new recipes. I also like trying out different restaurants in Chicago, the city has a wonderful gastronomic scene!
What are your plans post-UChicago?
Although I haven’t quite decided whether to stay in academia or go into industry, I definitely still want to be involved in research. I enjoy being in a lab and working on challenging problems.
What support have you received at the UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
I think there are a lot of resources on campus students are not aware of. I found the UChicago GRAD office to be very useful with career advising appointments, workshops, and networking events. The University also has a variety of mental health and wellness services for students, such as Mindfulness Meditation and Pet Love.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
I would say the best way to learn about UChicago is to talk to as many people as you can and get the day-to-day experience. Everyone’s experience will be a bit different, so it’s important to get a wide variety of perspectives.
How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued?
Growing up, I’ve been lucky to be exposed to a variety of cultures, which gave me more awareness on issues of diversity and inclusion. As a woman in STEM, I hope to see more girls go into science, and I have done several outreaching events to encourage young girls to be interested in math and sciences.