Thanks, Duke Kunshan, for so much fun!
Duke Kunshan University MSc Medical Physics Program, Class of 2016
Studied at Peking University previously
(Tian Li making his research presentation at MP Forum held on Jan 24, 2016)
My major was Chemical Biology during my undergraduate time at Peking University. I had never thought of being a medical physicist until being admitted into Duke Kunshan University, right at the corner of my fourth year at PKU.
Here, we are given an opportunity to build a rapport with professors and coordinators through the form of teaching in small classes, in addition to being the first students of the Duke Kunshan Medical Physics Graduate Program. Each professor knows you well and you know each equally well, which is uncommon in most universities including both domestic and foreign ones.
Prof. Huang and Prof. Bowsher, Professors-in-Residence, teach several classes and there are many professors from Duke University and domestic hospitals coming to us. Take Anatomy, for example: Deedra McClearn, Director of Global Academic Program Development at Duke University, teaches for the first half of the semester while Doctor Xiangpeng Zheng, Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology at Fudan University-affiliated Huadong Hospital, instructs for the second half.
Each instructor here has a unique vantage point from which I definitely can learn a lot. Working in such a variety of styles, the key points of their lectures can be different, and their distinctive research means the way they understand technology can be different. That means it is really a great opportunity to be able to communicate with the chief physicists and physicians from China and abroad. Interestingly, most professors like to explore Kunshan and China on their own. Prof. Turkington likes wandering in Kunshan with his camera to enjoy the square dance that is popular among the elderly, to experience local life in traditional markets, to find ‘blind date corners’ in parks. It is worth mentioning that a vendor once tried to sell him a chicken, a live one, which frightened him a lot, and he laughed like a child when talking about these stories. What’s more, Prof. Fang-Fang Yin, Director of Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke Kunshan University, whose hometown is actually Ningbo, Zhejiang, claimed that he was from Shandong in Shanghainese when we met for the first time.
I spend most of my spare time playing basketball as a big fan of the Duke Blue Devils, especially when in Durham. Back in Kunshan, my friends and I usually play basketball at Kunshan High School, which is quite close to Duke Kunshan University. To be honest, we are usually defeated by those high school students; they are so young but we are getting older!
We all know this is a brand-new school, we are the first students of the Medical Physics Graduate Program, and some details are still being refined. Before being admitted, I just wanted to give it a try and did not set extremely high expectations for Duke Kunshan University. Now that I’m here, I’m happy to say I am satisfied with the facilities, teachers, academic atmosphere and interpersonal communications. If I had the chance to choose again, Duke Kunshan would remain my first choice.
Thanks, Duke Kunshan, for so many interesting people and so much fun!
My Forties at Duke Kunshan University
Duke Kunshan University MSc Medical Physics Program, Class of 2017
Master of University of Sydney, Father of Two
I achieved my first master’s degree on the job from the University of Sydney. Online courses without face-to-face lectures were the main form of the education. Professors would set deadlines for homework and papers that were fundamental parts of academic performance. From time to time, I flew back to Australia for exams.
Now, I am a full-time postgraduate at Duke Kunshan University. Thanks to support I have received, I can focus on study with little pressure from work or family, and face-to-face communication has become possible, which is of great help to solve any problems I encounter. I build relationships here with people instead of computers or machines, and I am getting close to my classmates, professors and staff. What’s more, Duke Kunshan University is positively a great place for study because the core of teaching here is improving your understanding of knowledge rather than your scores.
From college student to graduate student, from X-ray to CT then to MRI, I have been on my way studying medical physics for about 20 years. In the past five years, my work at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore gradually turned to research, as I spent half my time treating patients while half doing MR research. When I was 38, my boss learned about the newly established Duke Kunshan University and I was told this could be a good chance to pursue advanced studies. So I attended Campus Open Day in 2014, and it was that very day when I met four young people who are now my classmates. Most interestingly, the high school just next to Duke Kunshan University is the one my mom used to study in. Chinese usually call this coincidence ‘Yuanfen’ (destiny). All together, I found this a great opportunity to study further and decided to apply after contacting professors and the recruiter. With help from my hospital in Singapore and Dr. Bowsher of Duke Kunshan University and Dr. Chen of Duke University, I was able to get admitted to Duke Kunshan University and, at the same time, received a Research Fellowship from the Singapore Ministry of Health. With all this assistance, I also want to thank my wife and children in Singapore and my parents and family members in China for their great support!
(Qinglong Gu in a classroom discussion with a fellow student)
When it comes to why I went back to school, my answer is that student life is the best. People may get tired of something immutable but school brings growth and change. I started to rethink not only about money but also the meaning of life when I went back to school. It is more exciting to know the unknown than to make money. There are lots of challenges in front of me, such as being thousands of miles away from family or even math tests that aren’t easy for me. I have reached my forties; for the next 20 years or more, I just want to move further to discover more about this essential cornerstone from which all medical images come, the field of medical physics.