The IEEE Joint VTS/ComSoc Chapter in the Victoria Section hosted a students’ career panel, titled “What’s Beyond the Island?”, in the morning of 23 August 2019. The panel invited seven panelists from academic, industrial, and government research labs:
- Prof. Fumiyuki Adachi (Tohoku University)
- Prof. Dingyi Fang (Northwest University)
- Prof. Rose Hu (Utah State University)
- Prof. Jianping He (Shanghai Jiaotong University)
- Prof. Ming Ling (Southeast University)
- Matt McKinney (ArcBlock)
- Dr. Humphrey Rutagemwa (Communication Research Centre Canada)
The panel brought together ~60 attendees for three hours to the Engineering Computer Science Building, University of Victoria, Canada. Right after the panel, a two-hour seminar on blockchain by Tian Chen (VP engineering, ArcBlock) was presented to a full room of about 40 attendees, including students, engineers, and researchers. The back-to-back events were organized by University of Victoria’s Dr. Jianping Pan and Dr. Lin Cai.
Many students asked questions enthusiastically during the panel, such as:
“What did you wish you were told while you were still in school?”
“What did you wish you were told when you started your career in (academia, government, industry)?”
“What have you found from your experiences, observations and mentoring of students, colleagues, etc.?”
The panelists shared their experiences, lessons, and advice:
- Prof. Fumiyuki Adachi suggested that students should talk with others to open up to new things and ideas, to achieve things beyond what one can achieve individually.
- The advice from Prof. Dingyi Fang was to align one’s daily objectives with his/her initial dream, i.e., to have a clear long-term vision while focusing on one’s current work.
- Prof. Jianping He shared his advice on how to deal with anxiety, such as waiting for offers. He suggested focusing attention on things one can control, instead of worrying about the uncertainty.
- Prof. Rose Hu encouraged individuals to always believe in one-self and prepare adapting to a new environment and challenges.
- Prof. Ming Ling suggested that one should plan a long-term career trajectory at the beginning of his/her career.
- Matt McKinney encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone.
- Dr. Humphrey Rutagemwa encouraged students to express themselves bravely.
A pizza lunch was provided after the panel, where participants had the chance to enjoy a meal as well as meet with the panelists for further discussions.
After the panel, Tian Chen gave a seminar on blockchain technologies (from basic concepts to applications), titled “ArcBlock Forge: A Framework to Build Reusable Interconnected Blockchains and Decentralized Apps.”
ArcBlock is a company that develops blockchain systems for building and deploying decentralized applications. The key innovation of ArcBlock is making blockchain interoperability easy with built-in smart contract support, scalable to support a massive number of connected nodes.
Using the example of the most famous crypto-currency—Bitcoin—Tian illustrated the basic idea of blockchain technologies and the current technical challenges: the longest chain, fake trade, etc. Following this was an explanation of the ArcBlock multi-chain framework. The seminar was an excellent opportunity for students to learn from industry leaders, and for engineers and researchers to brainstorm on next-generation blockchain platforms.
The audience showed great enthusiasm about the content, leading to a constructive discussion after the presentation. Matt McKinney, Marketing and Business Development Director from ArcBlock, also answered questions about the operation of blockchain products.
Dr. Jianping Pan introducing the panelists.
Panelists sharing their experiences. From top-left to bottom-right: Matt McKinney, Dr. Humphrey Rutagemwa, Dr. Ming Ling, Dr. Fumiyuki Adachi, Dr. Rose Hu, Dr. Dingyi Fang, Dr. Jianping He.
Blockchain seminar by Tian Chen.