Dean's Message
Summer 2014 No.25
Ms & Mr Young Engineers
Three outstanding Year 1 undergraduates discuss why they chose to study engineering rather than pure science – and what appeals most about HKUST
Bernard Wai Lok Li
Queen's College
Top scorer of HKDSE exam among students admitted to the School of Engineering in 2013
"Engineering is the link between the work of scientists and the everyday lives of people."
I have always been fascinated by the question that I reckon many scientists face, and that is, is their invention economically feasible? Scientists work hard to develop laws and formulae that form the basis of inventions, but how many of these are destined to remain forever in the lab? I suspect many never see the light of day. This is where the profession of engineering comes in: it is the link between the work of scientists and the everyday lives of people.
I was prompted to delve into the essence of this subject, by searching for studies that elucidate the nature of "engineering" to general readers. I discovered that engineers differ from scientists in that they often deal with the issue of "how" to produce the inventions put forward by scientists through optimizing the benefits. As a student-to-be of engineering, I was pondering over the fact that while a concrete foundation in scientific knowledge was important, engineering itself relies upon sociological tools – such as economics – to consider these theories in a more real-life and practical way. This reveals why I choose to be an engineer, which is different to becoming a scientist. 
Personally, I adore mathematics and science when they are applied in a broad sense. As for why I specifically chose HKUST, I would say I was impressed by the academically oriented atmosphere. In terms of software, the School of Engineering provides ample opportunities to equip students with a strong theoretical background as well as practical skills for their future career. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is an example of how students can gain access to research independently, rather than being confined to rigid theories from textbooks. This "trial-and-error" approach to learning can prepare me for becoming a self-dependent engineer who transforms theories into practicality.
These are vital qualities that all engineers should be endowed with, and I am confident to say that I'm ready to accomplish the dreams of my own, and to inherit the work left undone by engineers of past generations.
Jenny Ji Eun Kang
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong
"I've always wanted to study the technicality of science with a touch of creativity, and engineering seemed to marry the two."
I only really discovered my underlying love for engineering during my last year of high school, when I had to think about what I wanted to study at university. I mainly wanted to pursue chemistry because I was interested in how chemicals work and shape our lives. I still remember my very first science project in which I had to test whether or not professional shampoos really lived up to their claim of being "better" than regular shampoos. Shortly after, I homed in on my fascination with pharmaceuticals – from the design process all the way to their effects on our bodies. It was then it struck me: chemistry may be a good choice for me... but what about chemical engineering? 
The more I looked into engineering, the more it appealed to me. I've always wanted to study the technicality of science with a touch of creativity, and engineering seemed to marry the two. And the fact that engineering can tackle some of the most pressing problems humanity faces in the present filled me with excitement. Engineers are people who design our world, who innovate and explore, who strive for a better tomorrow... and I wanted to be one of them!
My story is just beginning and with the help of HKUST and the many opportunities it offers – such as exchange programs to universities all over the world and UROP – the possibilities are endless. With all that I've learnt and the inspiring peers and professors whom I've met in the past few months, I'm excited to discover what is to come. Whether it is household chemicals or pharmaceuticals, I hope to explore my interest in the application of chemistry in our lives through studying chemical engineering. And with HKUST Engineering, I know that I can take my interests to the next level and equip myself to become the engineer that the world needs today.
Tony Peng Zhou
Hangzhou Xuejun High School
Mainland China
"I like the words of Theodore von Kármán: "Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was."
"Why didn't you continue to study physics at university?" "Why did you choose the School of Engineering?" These are the most common questions asked by my friends once they hear that I won a gold medal at the 14th Asian Physics Olympiad in 2013. Doing well in physics might be an advantage – albeit temporary – in others' eyes. But for me, the reason I chose engineering was purely because of interest.
I like the words of Theodore von Kármán, the Hungarian-American mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist: "Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was." After careful consideration, I realized that I was more enthusiastic about creating new stuff. And HKUST is a very internationalized university that can spark my inspiration. 
Studying at HKUST is more than just going to classes and reading textbooks in the library. Rather, it provides us with a variety of activities that enable us to connect with the most advanced science and technology. There are many prestigious researchers and corporations sharing their ideas and achievements with us. For me, one of the most inspirational is DJI Innovations, founded by a School of Engineering alumnus, which is a world leader in small, high-performance unmanned aerial systems for commercial and recreational use. This is just one of the numerous inspiring instances that have revolutionized my view of engineers. 
I have joined HKUST's Aeronautics Interest Group. We are working on a project to manufacture a model plane. Our target is not merely to get it airborne, but develop it to perform a series of difficult tasks. For example, we have designed a suspension system with large wheels that enables the plane to taxi across undulating ground, while we have also changed the configuration of the plane so it is lighter and faster. During this process, I experienced the excitement of being an engineer. And I thank HKUST for giving me this excellent opportunity.
In hindsight, I rejoice that I made the correct decision to study at the School of Engineering. Here at HKUST, I can develop my confidence so as to become a young yet prominent engineer, just as I have always dreamed.