Robotics Institute 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

© 2017 by Bruce Personal Website. 

Updated on 8/21/2017

Personal History Statement

 One of my first memories is of sitting on a train and reading the biography of James Watt, whose invention drove the industrial revolution. Indeed, I have long been fascinated by innovators such as Watt, Thomas Edison, and Benjamin Franklin. More recently, I was amazed to witness the technology changes pioneered by Steve Jobs. I want to use my passion for science to help create a world that is technologically advanced and convenient, so as to enhance the welfare of people from all walks of life. To reach a position in which one can contribute to such progress, studying hard is extremely important. In addition, being a well-rounded person with the necessary social skills to work with and lead other people is also essential. To foster these skills, I took part in a wide range of activities. For example, I served as head of the marketing and design department at the Pan Asia Model United Nations 2013 (PAMUN 2013), as well as public relations officer of the student association of the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University (NTU). Furthermore, I joined a number of clubs in university, including the coffee, electric guitar, and photography clubs. I also tutored students from less developed areas of the country to help them improve their grades and enhance their approach to learning.

 

The Model United Nations (MUN) is an educational simulation and academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the UN. MUN involves research, public speaking, debates, writing, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership. I served as head of the marketing and design department at the PAMUN 2013 held at Taipei 101, leading a group of 24 in promoting the event and organizing four days of activities. We also selected several regional ambassadors to publicize the event in areas in the Middle East and South America. We had extensive discussions with these regional ambassadors to gain a better understanding of local cultures, so as to accurately convey the concepts behind MUN and explain the purpose of our event. Moreover, we also made videos, used Facebook and Youtube for marketing purposes, and sent many invitation letters and posters to universities. Following one year of preparation, we were able to attract more than 450 university students from around the world to participate in the event, including students from Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil.

 

As public relations officer of the student association of the Department of Electrical Engineering, we wrote proposal for various activities such as camps and concerts. I tried to use a different approach in this role. For example, instead of simply emailing template proposals to companies, we customized our communication. Instead of passively waiting for replies, we called companies directly. And if the response came from a low-ranking staff member, we requested a response from a high-ranking one. In the process of catering to the different needs of companies, we did thorough market surveys to quantify important concepts and tell companies how we could help them grow their popularity among young people. After activities had been completed, we also sent final reports to companies, including Facebook feedback, data analysis of their website, and videos of placement marketing. Indeed, we were able to build long-term partnerships with several companies. We would be in frequent contact with managerial staff, who would sometimes come to us directly if they wanted to promote new products.

 

By joining a number of clubs in university, including the coffee, electric guitar, and photography clubs, I cultivated my social skills. I built new friendships and improved my ability to interact with and support others. I also managed to develop professional-level photography skills, which allowed me to make some extra money by selling landscape photos or working as a photographer at weddings, year-end parties, and conferences. In addition, while fulfilling my alternative military service at the Public Diplomacy Coordination Council of the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), I served as a photographer and video consultant for the ROC National Day celebrations, and performed photography-related tasks involving senior officials such as President Ma Ying-jeou and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Y. L. Lin. Because of my strong work ethic and professionalism, I received a recommendation letter from MOFA spokesperson Eleanor P. Wang.

 

Social skills and leadership abilities are usually developed in the process of growing up. However, the education system in Taiwan focuses on grades rather than the aforementioned skills and abilities. And for many young people, parents play an important role in decisions concerning education. I experienced much of this as well, and in line with my family’s expectations, I was able to gain entry to and graduate from the Electrical Engineering Department of NTU. However, during 12th grade, something changed for me. I was assigned to help classmates with homework after school. At first, I resented this task. However, after a while I started enjoying the process of helping others, and I continued to tutor students when I was in university. I fact, I volunteered to tutor children from rural areas, teaching many students for free. The emotional reward in helping these children was far greater than any monetary reward that could have been offered.

 

As for my engineering studies, my research activities demonstrate my passion for the field. I have been involved in numerous projects since my sophomore year based on my belief that an undergraduate education should go beyond theory and delve into practice. While theory is necessary for a complete understanding, the difficulties in testing, proving, or overturning theory are only understood through experience. I have done research in a wide variety of areas such as integrated circuits, equalizers for 3D-IC, and rectennas for wireless power transfer and energy harvesting. I have also conducted an independent project to build and operate a hexacopter using wireless charging methodology, Arduino radar search systems, and landing mechanisms with infrared tracking. In addition, I have published two conference papers and submitted one journal paper as well as one conference paper.

 

Now, the next step in my personal development is becoming a knowledgeable expert in the field of robotics. By joining the Ph.D. Program in Robotics, I am confident I will realize my full potential as a researcher and make meaningful contributions to society as a whole.