Xiangnan Zhong ’17

Xiangnan ZhongAfter completing her Ph.D. at URI in electrical engineering in 2017, Xiangnan Zhong was hired as an assistant professor at the University of North Texas, in Denton, TX.

Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, URI, 2017
M.S. Control Theory & Control Engineering, Northeastern Univ., China, 2012
B.S. Automation, Northeastern University, China, 2010

Q: How did your studies at URI help you become an assistant professor?
A: My graduate studies at URI not only provided the core courses in my area of research, but also cutting-edge research projects that enabled me to work closely with the faculty and other students in the department. Because the projects required a lot of teamwork, my communication and collaboration skills significantly improved.

The professors in the department were perfect role models. I frequently discussed course projects, research methods and career development paths with them.

I was also very fortunate to be in a research lab surrounded by many highly motivated graduate students and visiting scholars. I really enjoyed our project meetings and group discussions, which helped me identify a clear path toward the research objectives and always meet the important milestones.

Q: What are your proudest achievements as a graduate student at URI?
A: After studying at a university in China, I decided to study abroad for the first time by pursuing my doctorate at URI. While at URI, there were many things I was proud of, including successfully getting my driver’s license, publishing my first article in the top journal in my field and receiving the URI Enhancement of Graduate Research Award.

My proudest achievement is the overall experience and research skills I developed over my years in the department to prepare for the transition from being a student, to becoming an assistant professor, to running my own research lab. I am still a bit nervous about this, but I feel confident and look forward to my new career development, thanks to all the learning and training experiences at URI.

Q: What are your research interests?
A: My research interests focus on computational intelligence, intelligent control, adaptive control and their applications in cyber-physical systems and robotics. With the development of brain-like research and modern technologies, the study of computational intelligence has become one of the critical research topics worldwide. Rather than directly theorizing about how people or animals learn, my research explores idealized learning situations and evaluates the effectiveness of various learning methods.

Q: What are your career goals?
A: I plan to establish my own laboratory, recruit laboratory personnel and secure funding for my research. As a junior faculty member, it is important for me to learn to speak and write well, to develop personnel and fiscal management skills in order to run the lab effectively and responsibly. I would also like to develop some new courses for the department. In order to become a successful professor, I will also perform service for the department, the university, and the professional community.