NSF - IRES China 2013

University of California, Riverside

About  Us

Meet The Team

We are a group of students from the University of California Riverside, preparing to conduct research abroad. We will be spending time working alongside students and professors from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. We hope to gain as much cultural knowledge as technological skills while there.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog!
We hope you enjoy!

- Susana (Webmaster) and IRES 2013 Team!


PRevious IRES Websites and Reports

IRES 2012 Website
IRES 2010 Website
IRES 2009 Report
IRES 2008 Report


Jamila Witcher is a fourth year Electrical Engineering major at University of California, Riverside. She is actively involved with NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) as Secretary, but in the up and coming school year (2013-2014) she will hold the position of Vice President.  She is also involved with other organizations on campus with having national memberships for both IEEE and SWE. She is the first in her family to attend a four-year university as well as the first to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in the engineering field. She is very excited to be part of the IRES-China Program this year and is looking forward to learning more of what undergraduate research is like and learn about the Chinese culture. She hopes to learn a lot as well as enjoy this experience during her stay in China.



Andrew Gwozdziowski is a fourth year electrical engineering student at the University of California, Riverside. He instructed workshops on robotics and embedded processors while serving as the Robotics Coordinator for the IEEE student branch. He enjoys teaching and plans to instruct a series of workshops on hardware description and soft processor design in the Fall. Andrew's passion lies in his research. In addition to ESD protection of embedded systems, he also researches HD architecture and FPGA implementation of video super-resolution systems. He plans to pursue a PhD in electrical engineering and a career in the research of embedded systems.



Susana is a third year majoring in Computer Science. She is actively involved in the Society of Women Engineers and in the planning of one of the biggest outreach events in BCOE: Bourns Engineering Day. She is the first in her family to pursue a Bachelor's degree and the first to go into the technical/engineering field. She wants to inspire as many young girls as she can and would like to motivate them to do their best in everything they do. She would also like to push females, as well as minority students to give the technical and engineering fields a chance. One does not know what he/she is capable of doing until he/she gives it a chance, so each person should take advantage of every opportunity that arises!



Daniel Quach is a third year undergraduate student studying Computer Engineering at University of California, Riverside. He currently works for UCR's College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology. He is also actively involved in the IEEE club at the university. He enjoys working with databases and building servers. Daniel plans to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He would like to thank his family, his friends, and his professors for all their dedication to shaping me into who I am today. HI MOM :)


UCR/Beijing Journal

Follow our Journey through this research experience!

Technical Orientation

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • February 25, 2013

Orientation Begins

In order to prepare for our research trip abroad, we have begun meeting with Dr. Wang's graduate students in his research lab. During our first training day, we got a basic tour of the lab. At that time we decided that for the rest of our orientation days, we would begin discussing Dr. Wang's book, On-Chip ESD Protection for Integrated Circuits. Before each of our bi-monthly meetings, we read a few chapters from the book and go in and discuss the information learned with the graduate students. 


UC-Light Project

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • March
  • 20, 2013

A new project with UC-Light

Asside from learning about ESD protection on IC's, we were given another task to complete throughout the Winter quarter. Dr. Wang sent us into Dr. Gang Chen's lab to work with his graduate students. Both Dr. Wang and Dr. Chen are professors working together with the Ubiquitous Communication by Light Center. Their focus is to enable wireless communications by embedding signals into the light emitted by LED's found in various systems that people use in their everyday lives.

Dr. Chen's research focused on free space optics (FSO) communication technologies and their applications. Our job was to go into his lab, and assist the graduate students in preparing displays for the research presentation that was scheduled for the week of spring break. We were going to be the ones presenting the work that they had been preparing and collecting in lab. There were four different projects that would be presented. The weeks leading up to the UC-Light presentation day, we focused on the look and design of the cover for the car used in the navigation and light demo.

The car had a photodiode connected to a computer that recieved and decoded information from the various LED's that were placed around the room. The LED's sent coordinate's to the computer, telling the car where to go and when to stop. This navigation project was going to be the main demo for the UC-Light presentation.

UC-Light Presentation

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • April 1, 2013

The time to present is here!

It was finally the day to present the work that Dr. Chen's graduate students had done. On Thursday, March 28th, 2013, we met up bright and early to prepare for our big showcase! We were all a bit nervous, because we wanted to make sure that we made Dr. Chen's graduate students look good. They had worked extremely hard on their research, so we definitely needed to present their work in the best way we could.

We were all assigned to present a different project. Susan and Daniel were responsible for the high speed wireless optical communication model. Andrew was in charge of explaining the benefits of this type of communication. I was responsible for presenting the navigation and traffic light model.

Once we finished presenting, we headed out to take a group picture with all the industry leaders present. They were all so kind and gave us advice on what to do for future presentations. As soon as the picture session was done, we all headed over to 205/206, to eat lunch. All the hard work of Dr. Cheng's graduate student's had definitely paid off. The UC-Light presentation was a success!

Heading to China

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July
  • 6, 2013

Departure Time

The day had finally arrived! We all got up bright and early for our departure and headed towards John Wayne Airport. It was a good thing we got there early, because our original flight got delayed and we were able to get seats on an earlier flight. We landed in San Francisco and waited a couple of hours before boaring on our next flight heading towards Beijing. The flight was not as bad as we had expected. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Beijing. We got out and headed towards the designated meeting area. It was not long till we spotted Professor Wang heading our way. We took various pictures in the airport and then headed out.

Outside we met Johnny, one of two of our host students during our stay in Beijing. After introducing each ourselves to him, we began to ask each other various questions. From this we learned that Johnny is currently a third year electrical engineering student at Tsinghua University, the place will call home for the next month. After a very interesting ride to the university from the airport, we arrived at Tsinghua. There we met Tao our second host student for the motnh. He helped us register and get all our room stuff ready. We got all our luggage and headed towards our new rooms.

After getting situated, we headed to get our bicycles. They will be our main source of transportation while at Tsinghua. We headed outside the university to meet with Professor Wang for dinner. During our first dinner we got to meet Johnny and Tao more. We asked them several questions and they did the same. We were very similar in many different ways. After dinner we headed back to our dorms for a quick meeting with Professor Wang.

He knew we had a very long day, so he did not keep us for long, We all headed to our rooms and then to bed. It was a very fun first day in our new home: China.

Our Photos

Getting adjusted to Tsinghua

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 7-8, 2013

Exploring the campus!

After getting the sleep we needed, we headed out to lunch with our host students Johnny and Tao. We got to know them more and were able to find many things in common. Throughout the next two days after ur arrival, we were able to go to the bank, get our meal cards, take pictures, and set up our internet accounts.

Once all the important tasks were completed, we were able to explore on our own. We went to the store and rode around the campus visiting and discovering all the hidden passages and places that Tsignhua has. The campus was too big to see all at once, so after exploring for a bit, we went back to our dorms to prepare to meet with Tao for dinner.

Tao took us to another cafeteria and let us explore the various options of food there were on the various floors. After the delicious meal, he told us that we would go to lab in the morning. We would finally get to see the place where we would be working for the next month!

Tao met with us in the morning and led the way to the Tsinghua Microelectronics building. We went in for a tour of the whole building and saw the research and development lab as well as the student work areas filled with various tools and projects that the students had been working on. We got to see Tao's desk and we met some of his electrical engineering friends. When we were done Tao left us free to roam on our own again. After the tours,we were all excited to see what we would be working on.

Our Photos 1
Our Photos 2
Our Photos 3

Setting up HSPICE and heading to Wangfujing

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July
  • 10 , 2013

First Beijing Adventure

Yesterday we met up with Dr. Wang and our host students. Dr. Wang wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly and that we had settled in without any problems. After he left, Johnny and Tao helped us install HSPICE, a circuit simulation program that we would be using to complete our research. I ran into a problem because I have a mac and HSPICE worked on Windows machines, so I needed to do some extra work. With the help of Daniel, I got HSPICE to work on my computer. Tao and Johnny told us that they would send us some homework to do int the following week to get familiar with HSPICE. After all this was settled we went to our rooms.

The next day we were to get ready for our first adventure outside of Tsinghua. We rode our bikes to the West gate and parked them there. We went outside and found that the Summer Palace was right there. We were not going to the Summer Palace though, we were heading to a famous shopping area in Beijing called Wangfujing. Crossing the streets in Beijing is an adventure of its own. The cars do not stop for anyone so one must be very careful. We looked funny running for our lives across the street while everyone else was calm and cool.

The subway was another interesting mini adventure. We had to squish ourselves inside before the doors closed. The cars would be packed, so we would stand for most of the trip. After transferring lines, we arrived at our destination. It was Johnny's first time to Wangfujing as well, so we were all excited. When we first got there, we saw various American stores. We were confused, because we expected to see a lot of food stands and various little Chinese vendors selling all types of Chinese goodies, but it was not what we found. After walking deeper into the street, we finally saw what we were waiting for. We walked down a road filled with street vendors selling various types of kabobs. There were fruit Kabobs, meat Kabobs, spider, snake and scorpian kabobs, and other types of asian and mongolian dishes all around. A lot of it looked very yummy, so we could not help but buy some. This is where our haggling skills began to come out and we were able to get a lot of food at a much better price.

After going up and down Wangfujing, we decided to go back. We needed to rest up because tomorrow we would go to Happy Valley with Tao. It was a very fulfilling night.

Our Photos

Happy Valley

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July
  • 12, 2013

Time to be a kid again

We got up early and met with Tao. He brought us breakfast to eat on our way to the station. This time we went to another subway station closer to the main gate of campus.

When we arrived we rushed to get inside the subway. There was too many people and the gate was about to close, so Daniel and I were left behind. Although we did not know where we were going, we were able to figure things out and we met up with Tao, Jamila, and Andrew at the transfer station. From there, we took a bus to Happy Valley, a theme park in Beijing.

We were happy that after so many days of rain there was finally sun out. It was both a good and a bad thing. When we arrived, we saw various packs of school children gathering around outside. We knew it would be packed, but we did not expect to see so many people. The waiting lines were very long so we were not able to go on as many rides as we wanted, but we still had a blast. It was a very interesting experience

By the end of the day we were all happy to be heading home. We stopped by to eat at KFC and then we headed home.

Our Photos

Exploring Outside Tsinghua

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July
  • 13, 2013

Karaoke Time

Today was our rest day, which meant more exploring for us! In the morning, Andrew and Jamila did some exploring of their own by going and looking for ice, but could not find any. When they came back we decided that we would go outside on own and eat and do some Karaoke.

Our host students have so much going on, that we did not want to bother them on their free time. We decided to go out and explore some more on our own. We went into a Pizza place and managed to order by ourselves. After eating, we headed over to KTV.

None of the workers spoke English, so we had to ask a student if he could translate. After settling the bill, we went into a Karaoke room. It was interesting trying to figure out how to work the Karaoke machine because it was all in Chinese. After a couple of minutes we found the songs we wanted to sing.

After an hour passed, our time was up. We sang the last song and then headed out. It was a very fun night. Next time hopefully Johnny and Tao can accompany us.

Our Photos

Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July
  • 14, 2013

Heading to the Forbidden City

Today started off with meeting Johnny outside of the C building. We went into the mini supermarket to buy lunch and a couple of other snacks for our trip to the Forbidden City.

As we headed towards the West gate, we saw various Tsinghua students posing in their cap and gowns for pictures. They were getting ready to complete their last journey at Tsinghua: graduation. The day had come when they could finally wear their gowns and stoles and such to walk across the stage and receive their degree. It was incredible to see all the brilliant and talented graduates. Tsinghua students are the best of the best students from all of China, so the fact that we get to work alongside such talented people is truly an amazing experience. Soon it will be Tao and Johnny posing around Tsinghua in their cap and gown. It will also be our time to complete our journey back at UCR.

After passing various groups of graduates along with their families, we finally arrived at the West gate. We parked our bikes, and then walked over to the Subway station. We had already visited this station before, so the trip there was not as scary as the first time.

After about an hour on the subway, we arrived at Tiananmen Square. It was very big and very crowded. We took a couple of pictures and then Johnny led us into the Forbidden City. Johnny surprised us with all the information he had about the Forbidden City. As we walked all around he told us various interesting facts about Chinese history. Although many of the buildings were closed down for reparing, it was overall a very fun and informative trip.

After we were done, we went back home and had some very delicious Korean BBQ. It was a very good ending to a great day!


Our Photos

Lunch with Professor Ren and Lab Time

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 16, 2013

Project One

Yesterday we were invited to attend a lunch hosted by professor Ren, the director of Devices Research Division of Institute of Microelectronics here at Tsinghua University. We were all excited and looking forward to the event, because we had heard many great things about professor Ren from Dr. Wang and last years IRES team. Professor Ren would be the one guiding our research team here at Tsinghua University.

We headed to lab to pick up some more students and from there we went to the venue where the lunch would take place. When we arrived, professor Ren welcomed us warmly and led us to sit down with other electrical engineering students. We met students of all levels working and being guided by professor Ren. Some of the students there were graduating and leaving to earn their master's degree or Ph.D. in very prestigious schools in the US. Other's were just starting out their undergraduate or graduate careers at Tsinghua. It was nice getting to know some of the students that we would get to work with and see on a daily basis. They were are very kind and helpful.

We also met Kai, a chemical engineering student that came from USC to do research. He came and introduced himself to us and told us about his 7-week trip here at Tsinghua. Although his project was not related to ours, he told us that we would have a good time because the graduate students were very informative and would help us along the way. We were happy to have met Kai, because now there was someone who we could go to if we had any questions. It was dissapointing to find out that he was leaving on Friday, but we knew that we would not loose contact then.

After the lunch, we went home and looked over the different files that Tao had sent us. He sent us the project that we would be working on while we are here in China. We are to design a fully differential OTA (operational transconductance amplifier) for a switched capacitor circuit application. We have specific parameters that we need to include and four different key choices that need to be made for this design problem that include output signal range and device sizes and bias currents. This is a little beyond my scope of knowledge, so I definitely have a lot to catching up to do, but I know that it will be a great accomplishment.

We read the specs and then decided what we each wanted to do. Afterwards we went home and got our laundry cards. We could not wait to start doing our own research on the topic of OTA.


Homework 1 and Hanging out with Dr. Tan's group

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 17, 2013

Homework 1

Today we received a homework assignment from Johnny. It is to help us out with HSPICE programming. We had to run a series of tests on MOSFETS like finding the threshold voltage using the operating points and finding the transconductance graphically using Avanwaves, a convenient graphical interface that helps display,
analyze, and print the results of HSPICE simulations. It did not seem like it would be a lot of work, but it was definitely tough. We did not finish it today, but we would keep working on it tomorrow morning.

In the evening we went to dinner with Dr. Tan's group. We met them by accident earlier in the week and decided that we would hang out and share our experiences. We went to Pizza Hut, that was more of a five star restaurant than a regular pizza parlor and discussed how our trip and research was coming along. They gave us some tips on going around and then we decided to go check out where we all lived. We decided that we would keep in touch and keep meeting up with each other in order to share more experiences and give each other advice.


Beijing University and Summer Palace

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 18, 2013

New Volunteers

Today we got up early and met up with Xue and Echo, two new students that would lead us on our trip to Beijing University and Summer Palace. Xue is a second year Microelectronics graduate student working under professor Ren and Echo was a friend of Tao's who volunteered to come along with us. We stopped by the C store to get some breakfast and we saw Kai, the chemical engineering student from USC. He would be leaving tomorrow, so he decided to join us. Beijing University was right next to Tsinghua University, so we were able to ride our bikes over there.

It is not easy to go into Tsignhua or Beijing universities. There are many tourists and vendors that want to go in and for this reason they do random id checks. When we arrived, were stopped at the gate. Xue called over his friend, a current student at Beijing university who was able to get us in. Beijing University was surprisingly much smaller than Tsinghua. We were able to walk all over the beautiful campus in a reasonable amount of time. When we were done touring, we headed over to the cafeteria and had a nice lunch. From here we biked over to the entrance of the Summer Palace. By this time we were all experts with the traffic in Beijing, so we had no problems going on the streets with our bikes. We arrived and headed over to the ticket booth. Once we got our tickets and a map, we headed inside.

The Summer Palace was originally built to celebrate Emperor Qianglong's mother's birthday, but became a place where the Emperor would bring his Empress and concubines to cool down and have fun. When it was burned down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces, the Empress Dowager Cixi used navy funds in order to rebuild it again in 1886 for her pleasure. After walking around and seeing most of the chambers, courtyards, and corridors, we went and sat down by the Kunming lake. We enjoyed the cool breeze coming towards us, as we saw various boats pass by us and listened to old traditional Chinese music. It really was a beautiful scene.

The park was going to close soon, so we got up and began to head back towards the entrance. It was definitely a beautiful imperial garden. After the Summer palace we thanked Echo and Xue for helping us out through out the day and we said goodbye to Echo who was heading back to her hometown. We were bummed, because we really loved having Echo around. Once they left, we headed back home to rest and prepare for tomorrow's activities.

Our Photos 1
Our Photos 2

Nan Luo gu Xiang Lane and Houhai

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 19, 2013

Scrolls and Paper cut-outs

Today we started a little later than usual. We were going to Nan Luo gu Xiang Lane, a place where many locals hang out and where the scenery is great at night. We met up with Xue who brought along his friend Dong Hao. Dong Hao had been to Nan Luo gu Xiang Lane many times, so he told Xue that he would help us out. When we arrived we saw many little stores that had various types of souvenirs. Silk scrolls and paper cut-outs of different Chinese symbols were among the most popular items on this lane. We stopped by many stores and looked around.

When we got to the end of the lane, we decided to get some lunch at a near by Korean BBQ place. The owner of the place began to talk to Xue and Dong Hao, and she started praising them for going to Tsinghua. She also cooked our meat for us and served each one of us. She treated us very kindly. After dinner we set off to go and see Houhai lake.

On our way there we passed by a store that sold silk scrolls. There we met the painter who welcomed us in and told us that he had worked in the US as an artist. He drew us a picture along with characters that made the sound of our name in Chinese. A couple of us bought some scrolls and other little art pieces and we left.

When we got to the lake the sun had not set yet, so we were able to get a glimpse of the beautiful lake in the daylight. There were many bars around the are, so we could hear people singing and playing their guitars. It made everything seem so calm and peaceful. We walked around waiting for it to get dark and then sat outside a restaurant to get some cool drinks and snacks. Within a couple of minutes the sun set and the lights began to turn on all around Houhai lake. We saw many tourists and locals going around and taking pictures everywhere. We walked around for a bit more and then we headed home.

Our Photos

The Great Wall of China

  • Posted by: Jamila Witcher
  • July 21, 2013

To the Great Wall We Go

On Sunday we visited the Great Wall of China. In order to get there we first had to take the subway and from there we made our way to take the train, which led us to our final destination: The Great Wall. The train ride was very interesting considering the fact that it was my very first time riding the train. It was very exciting to see the beautiful scenery while riding on the train. As we were approaching towards reaching the Great Wall we could catch glimpses of the Great Wall which grabbed my attention as well as other passengers aboard the train. Seeing parts of the Great Wall made me really excited and anxious to get a chance to climb the Great Wall myself. Once we arrived at the stop, we walked 300 Km to reach the entrance of the Great Wall and finally be able to climb it. On our walk there I saw various statutes and many different shops selling a bunch of different souvenirs. It was a really cool and great sightings to see. Once we reached the entrance of the Great Wall, my fellow teammates, our host student Johnny, and I were so excited to begin our journey to climb the Great Wall.

Before we entered to begin climbing the Great Wall, we were giving a choice to either climb the side were all the tourists walk through or the side with less tourists and where more of the locals walk noting that this side was a much more difficult climb. Between these two choices we decided to choose the side with less tourists and a more difficult climb for the experience and to see if we could do it. As we started to make our way climbing the Great Wall you could see a see of people enjoying their experience of climbing the Great Wall. The steps of the wall were very steep and it was also tiring at times. The view was very beautiful from the Great Wall was very interesting to see. You could see a sea of green with the mass amounts of trees surrounding the Great Wall. As well as the different parts of the walls that made up the Great Wall. This was such an awesome and unbelievable sighting. After pretty much spending our time at the Great Wall for 4 hrs and reaching the end where the part of the Great Wall was closed, we decided to visit some of the shops that we saw on our way to the entrance. We bought some great souvenirs and waited for our train ride home to the subway. At last we finally made it back to our dorm and decided to have a much deserved rest after such a long day of climbing the Great Wall.

Our Photos 1

Harsh Environments

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 23, 2013

Workshop Time

On Tuesday we attended the “Harsh Environment Microsystems and Nanotechnology for Strategic Applications” workshop. A harsh environment system is defined to be one that has high temperature and pressure, extreme mechanical shock, highly reactive chemicals or even extreme radiation.

There were many speakers, research scientists, and different companies that attended the event. We heard the speakers talk about sensors and other electronics that could be used to monitor such systems. These systems ranged from industrial gas turbine power systems and internal combustion engines to food that is grown.

We were able to talk to Kamran Shavezipur, a research scientist in the department of food from Ohio State University and also a co-chair of the workshop. In his presentation, he talked about the amount of food that is wasted every year by the U.S. alone and how we could reduce that if we inserted special sensors that would follow the food and products along their way to the store and beyong, making it less likely for people to throw perfectly good food away. He is currently working on the development of smart micro and nanosystems for food and agricultural systems.

Dr. Shavezipur also told us that he hoped this workshop would help introduce such technology to various companies and researchers. This type of new technology would surely benefit everyone.

We were extremely thankful that we got to hear and speak to some of these professional researchers and company speakers. They gave us an insight on the type of technology and research topics that would be extremely important in the years to come. After the workshop ended we rode our bikes home. It was definitely a successful and fulfilling day.

Our Photos

Learning to work with COMSOL

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 24, 2013

A new program

On Monday and Wednesday we began to work with Li, a third year Microelectronics undergraduate student. He helped us install COMSOL Multiphysics, a simulation software used by many engineers.

When we first arrived to Tsinghua and met Li, he asked us whether we wanted to learn HSPICE programing or COMSOL Multiphysics. We wanted to learn as much as we could, so we told him that we wanted to learn both. For this reason, he was helping us work with Multiphysics during his free time.

After waiting a while for the program to install in our computers, we began to do the tutorials in the program manual. We began with an exercise that walked us through a structural mechanics model that analyzes a wrench. We analyzed it and made sure that the handle was appropriately dimensioned by cheking if the mechanical stress levels was within the yield stress limit.

We did not have time to finish all the exercises within the book, but that was left for us to finish at home. Li had to go back to work and we headed home. We really apreciated getting help from Li on this awesome new program.

Our Photos


  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 25, 2013

Heading to the Beijing Art District

Today we met up with Wei and Wang, two students who volunteered to take us to 798, the Beijing art district. They had decided to take us by bus so that we could actually see the different places throughout Beijing. We walked to the bus station and waited for a bit before getting on the bus.

On the way there we were able to pass by many sites. We saw the 2008 Olympic Stadium and we saw many panda statues. We were happy that Wei and Wang had decided to take the bus to 798. When we arrived there we had a little trouble finding the place, but with Wei and Wang's quick thinking we found the place. Wei began to tell us that 798 used to be a factory that was abandoned. Soon after, many teens began to go there to create their artwork on the walls. It quickly became a place where young and old Beijing residents could express themselves through art. It became 798 because it was the number on the address of the old factory at the time.

There was so much color and so many different pieces of work, not just inside but outside as well. Every part of 798 was decorated. After walking around most of the galleries inside the district, we became tired and hungry. Wei and Wang took us to a very fancy traditional Chinese restaurant. Wei and Wang showed us the dishes they enjoyed and let us try some traditional Chinese desserts filled with red beans. It was a very yummy treat after such a long day. We went towards the bus station after our meal and waited for the bus to come. Unfortunately for us, the bus was super packed. I do not know how we managed to get in, but we made it in and some of us even got lucky to grab a seat after a few stops. It was definitely a long hot ride home though, so once we were back we went straight home to rest.

We thanked Wei and Wang and told them that we would see them tomorrow.

Our Photos

Beijing Olympic Stadium

  • Posted by: Andrew G
  • July 26, 2013

Going Back to 2008

Today we visited the site of the 2008 Olympic Games. We first visited the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest because of its architecture. Once we entered the Bird's Nest we climbled three flights of stairs to the top tier of the stadium. The view inside was as spectacular as the view from the outside. 

Then we visited the National Aquatics Center, better known as the water cube due to its shape and texture. The sound of water inside, the calming music, and the comfortable chairs made it a great place to relax after a day of walking. 

Our Photos

Last Week in Beijing

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • July 31, 2013

Our Last Days at Tsinghua

For our last week at Tsinghua, we were supposed to go into lab to be introduced and perform tests on various lab tools. Unfortunately the main lab apparatus that we were supposed to be using was malfunctioning and could not be used. There was also a school holiday during the week, which did not allow us to get into the electronics building. Professor Ren thought it would be a good time for us to get some rest from lab and do some last minute Beijing touring. After we got our COMSOL work done we all decided that we would head out in the next two days. On Tuesday and Wednesday we went to explore Beijing on our own. We went to various little places like the electronics store, Temple of Heaven, and Yuanmingyuan Park.

At the electronics store Andrew, Jamila, and Daniel bought various little parts that they would use for future self projects. Everything was cheap and extremely interesting. The next day Daniel decided to go to the Beijing Garden Expo, I decided to go to the Temple of Heaven, and Andrew and Jamila decided to go to the Yuanmingyuan park.

The Temple of Heaven was a place where old emperors would go and pray and give their offerings to the gods. They had various temples where they would follow a ceremonial ritual that lead them through a period of praying and abstinence. It was a very beautiful and fun experience.

Daniel said that the Beijing expo was not open and that what was available to the public was completely empty. He decided to go explore other places of the city and we ended up meeting at Wangfujing.

Jamila and Andrew had fun at Yuanmingyuan park, an extension to the Summer palace.

After getting all our last minute explorations done, we headed back home to meet with Dr. Wang. He went over the plans for the next couple of days, including our departure to Wuhan. We could not believe that our time at Tsinghua would almost be over.

Final Adventure with Tao

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 1, 2013

Shopping for our last Beijing Souvenirs

Today we got up early and met up with Tao. We rode our bikes to the main gate and then walked over to the subway station. We were happy that it wasn't a long ride, because line 13 can get very packed. When we arrived at the subway stop, we spent a while looking for an exit that nobody seemed to know.

We finally got out only to realize that all the exits where named the same letter. We walked over to the bus station and then after a couple of stops we had arrived. We came to a big building decorated with a Christmas theme. There were Christmas lights and Christmas decorations all around the outside. There was also a giant Santa Claus. It was actually pretty fun to see it, because we had just been talking about an August Christmas.

The building was around 6 stories high and had a floor for everything possible. Dr. Wang had told us that it was a place where locals went to shop for many things, so the prices should not be so high. There were many stores inside and many more souvenirs to choose from. We went up and down the building looking at everything they had. The second floor was filled with bags, the third floor was filled with toys, the fourth floor was filled with clothes, and the fifth and sixth floors were filled with jewelry and wearable headpieces. It definitely felt like a place where one would do their Christmas shopping, so I guess maybe that is why it was decorated like that on the outside.

After looking around for a bit we decided to go eat. We had to walk a long way before actually finding a restaurant, so we were happy to have arrived at a Mongolian style hot pot place. Non of us had ever had hot pot before, but we were told that it was very popular. It was indeed very delicious. The owner of the restaurant treated us very kindly and helped us out. After resting up for a while we got up and went back to the building.

After looking around some more, we made our final purchases and then headed outside because the building was about to close. It was a very fun day. We were happy that Dr. Wang suggested we go there. We were also very tired, so we could not wait to get back on the bus to rest our feet.

Goodbye Beijing

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Johnny

Today was our last day in Beijing and at Tsinghua University. Before turining in our bikes, packing, and getting ready to check out we did some last minute shopping and sightseeing around Tsinghua. We went to grab some lunch at the cafeteria and then headed out. We bought some Tsinghua Tshirts and other little Tsinghua souvenirs. We biked around campus for the last time and said goodbye to everything. When we ere done, we met up with the birthday boy: Johnny.

Johnny took us to return our lunch cards, our laundry cards, and then finally our bikes. We went to meet with Dr. Wang for the last time and then headed out to go and have our farewell dinner.

We arrived at the Quanjude Roast Duck, a place that we were all looking forward to eat at. After ordering our food, we were joined by Dr. Wang. We cheered and thanked Johnny for everything he did for us throughout our time here at Tsinghua. When our food arrived we were given a lesson on how to properly wrap and eat our duck. It was defintely a delicious and fun last dinner with Johnny.

After eating, Dr. Wang left us with Johnny to go around for one last time. We wanted to buy Johnny a cake, but he was too full, so we got him ice cream instead. We walked around and then returned to pack. We thanked Johnny one last time and then went inside. It was definitely sad saying goodbye, but we knew that we would not loose contact with Johnny. After packing we went to sleep, we would have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

Wuhan Journal

Follow our Journey through this research experience!

Arriving in Wuhan

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 3, 2013

Hello Wuhan

We got up bright and early to get ready to check out. After returning our keys and getting our rooms inspected, we were able to go outside to wait for Dr. Wang. We would be taking the subway to the train station. It was definitely going to be an interesting adventure going on the subway will all our luggage. Thankfully though, Dr. Wang would be helping us. It definitely was not easy carrying our luggage up and down the stairs, but we managed to arrive at the train station just fine.

The train ride was extremely fun. We were able to see the different environments that China was home to. From cities to small villages, we were able to see it all. Dr. Wang told us that because the bullet train passed by everything at speeds of up to 310km/hr, they put in special windows, so that when people looked outside they would not get dizzy. It was something we did not think about when we got on, but it was definitely a fun fact.

It did not feel like we had been on the train for five hours, but before we knew it we had arrived in Wuhan. We were greeted outside the train station by Professor Xavier, Professor Joe, and another Professor working under Professor X. They were very kind in welcoming us and gave us all a ride to our new home in Wuhan: Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

After getting settled in, we went outside and were greeted by our host students Ke and Han. Ke was a third year Master student and Han was a first year PhD student. They took us to look around the school for a bit along with Professor Joe and then we headed to our dinner place.

It was such an elegant and beautiful restaurant with ponds and many trees and plants inside. We were led into a room with a dinning table at one end and a tea spot at the other. We were joined by Professor Xavier and Dr. Wang. They were all very happy and excited to have us there. We were also extremely excited to start our new journey in Wuhan. Professor Xavier made sure that we felt welcomed and comfortable. They served us tea and we even got a chance to do some Karaoke with our fellow host students. It was definitely an unforgetable moment.

After some tea and singing, Professor Xavier led us to the dinning table. He had picked every dish with us and Wuhan in mind. He told us about Wuhan and how it is the capital of Hubei Province. He also told us that there were two rivers that seperated Wuhan into three parts.

We had many dishes that were famous in Wuhan, like the lotus seeds and lotus soup. We also had a snack that was made of rice and egg that Mao Zedong would come to Wuhan to eat. We had seen for ourselves just how beautiful Wuhan was and the way that Professor Xavier described it, made it even more beautiful. We could not wait to get to our research and explorations in Wuhan. After dinner, we thanked Professor Xavier and everyone else for the wonderful welcome. We definitely could not wait to begin our adventures in Wuhan with such great company!

Our Photos

HUST and Wuhan University

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 4, 2013

Going around Wuhan

Today was our first adventure in Wuhan. We met up with Ke and Han at the student services office and set up our internet and settled our fees. From there on we went around Huazhong University of Science and Technology aka HUST. There were many trees and ponds around campus. It was nice because we did not have to walk in the sun all the time, there was enough shade to shield us. It is a very beautiful campus. When we got to one end of the campus, we got on the university bus and rode it to the main gate. At the main gate we took pictures and then went to the bus station. We were going to head to Wuhan University, which along with HUST was one of the top schools in Wuhan.

On our way to Wuhan University, we passed by many stores and buildings. We also got a glimpse at the East lake. Professor Zou had told us that Wuhan was the city with the biggest lake in all of China, so we were looking forward to seeing it. After about half an hour we finaly got off. We had arrived at Wuhan University. The entrance to the school looked like any other street. If Han and Ke had not told us that this was the entrance to the school, we would have never guessed it ourselves.

We got in and found that unlike HUST, the roads in Wuhan University kept going up and down, like many little hills. It was much smaller than HUST, but it was also a very beautiful place. Ke and Han told us that Wuhan University if known for its long path of Japanese cherry blossoms. It attracts many tourists during the spring season and brings a lot of funding to the school. As we walked around we saw a group of students taking pictures on a staircase in the middle of the dorms. While on this trip there have been many times when random Chinese citizens and students have come up to us to ask us to take pictures with them, so I though it would be fun to change the roles. I asked Han to ask them if we could get a picture with them and they happily agreed. It was fun interacting with them through hand gestures and limited Mandarin. We got a picture and then went on ahead to see the rest of the school.

It was really hot that day, so Ke and Han decided to take us to this underground tunnel that was dark and cool. There were classrooms underneath it where various tests would take place. Han and Ke weren't sure what kind of testing was done, but they believe it had to do with magnetic fields and such. After touring around most of the campus we headed to grab something to eat.

Han had decided that he would take us to go see a movie at night and then we would grab dinner. We were excited because we were super tired, so a movie and some authentic Wuhan dishes afterwards seemed like the greatest thing in the world.

We took the subway to get to the movie theatre and found that unlike Beijing's many subway lines, Wuhan only has two. The price of a one way trip was also different in Wuhan and it depended on which exit one took. We were a bit worried about not finding seats because we arrived there a little later than we expected, but we found that in China seats are assigned when you buy your tickets. We got to our seats and enjoyed Pacific Rim in 3D.

After the movie we went to a little street where many Wuhan people go to eat some traditional dishes. Ke and Han ordered some of their favorite dishes for us to try. We had fish, meat and vegetable kabobs, and crawfish. They were all very delicious dishes and we were happy that Han and Ke had plan such a day. Once we finished eating we went back to our dorm rooms. We had an amazing time.


Our Photos

Yellow Crane Tower

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 6, 2013

Getting a glimpse of the Yangtze River

Today we got up early to visit one of Wuhan's most famous landmarks: Yellow Crane Tower. We met up with Han and his girlfriend who came along to help us. The Yellow Crane Tower used to be a restaurant where men would go and eat, socialize, and write poems. People would arrive from the Yangtze River and go to the Yellow Crane Tower to rest and from there many found inspiration to write.

The Yellow Crane Tower was five stories high. With each level we saw an even better picture of the whole city. On the second level we were able to see the biggest river in China: the Yangtze River. When we got to the final level the city and the river looked beautiful. It was like a painting. We definitely knew now where the inspiration to write so many poems came from. It was definitely a picture that will remain in our memories for the rest of our lives.

After going around the park we went outside to walk down a famous street known for its variety of Wuhan style food. Han told us that we would go down the street and try a little bit of everything. We liked this idea because we were able to give almost everything a try.

We thanked Han and his girlfriend and then we headed back to our apartments to rest for our first day of lab in the morning.


Our Photos

A New Project

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 9, 2013

Lab Time

On Wednesday, we met up with Han in the morning and then headed to lab. There we met Jelly, a fourth year undergraduate student who would be helping us for the week. We got situated with our new working area and then got down to business. Jelly helped us install Altium Designer, an electronic design software that he thought we could use for our new project. It took a while to install the program because some of us were having problems with our computers. Most of the day was spent getting to know Jelly and getting our computers ready to work by connecting them to the internet.

We went out to lunch at around 11:50am and then we were given a break. This two hour break is like nap time for the students, because everyone gets out their neck pillows and portable long chairs and fall asleep. This was very new to us, but we definitely do love it. After break we got back to work. By the end of the day we were given the specifications of the project. We are to design a switch-mode power supply (SMPS) that will be given an input of AC 220V and 50 Hz, and will output three different direct currents of 5V, 12V, and 30V. It needs to be more than 80% efficient and must cost less than 100 RMB, which is approximately a little less than $17. Once again there was much studying to do. We went home for the day to rest and get ready for another lab day in the morning.

On Thursday we walked over to lab on our own and began to work. Jelly told us that Professor Zou would like for each of us to prepare a power point on the basic ideas and details of a switch-mode power supply. We needed to have our power points ready by Friday because we were going to present them to Professor Zou. We spent that whole day researching and getting ourselves familiar with a SMPS. By the end of the day most of us had finished most our of power point. We now just needed to write down what we would say with each slide. When the time came to go home, we decided that we would go and eat with Jelly. After dinner we all went home to prepare for Friday's presentation.

On Friday we headed over to lab and got our last minute details on our presentations. After lunch, we went into the meeting room. We were joined by Professor Zou and a couple of other students who would listen in to our presentations. I volunteered to go first. I new that because of the language barrier, it would not be a good idea to talk too fast, so I tried to portray my findings in at a good pace. Once my presentation ended, Andrew went, followed by Jamila and Daniel. Although we all had the same topic, we each had something new to add. Professor Zou was happy with our presentations and gave us our next task. We now needed to figure out which SMPS design would be best for our project. We went outside and he asked us for a little bit about ourselves. We talked for a while and then Professor Zou left back to his office. We were happy that we were now one step closer to getting a start on our design project. It was Friday, so we were definitely happy to be able to go home a little bit early. We went back and decided we would relax a bit and watch a movie at home with Ke. It was a very good end to our first week in Wuhan.

Ocean World

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 10, 2013

The Sea World of Wuhan

On Saturday we got up early and met up with Han and Ke. We were going to go visit Ocean World. We walked to the subway station and then took the subway till the terminal. It was a long ride, but we were sitting down the whole way, so we did not really notice. We arrived at the last subway stop and went outside. It was not even 11am and yet the could feel the sun burning us. We were happy that we would be spending most of the day inside the different animal exhibits.

When we got there we were all very excited to see the different aquatic animals that inhabited the ocean theme park. Our first stop was the penguin exhibit. It was our first time seeing penguins in person, so it was interesting to see how different they were from the image we had created in our minds of them. They were very cute and very fun to watch because the swam all over the place. From there we went on to see a walrus, a wolf, and some polar bears. The polar bear was very big and it kept trying to scratch away the glass. It was a little scary standing next to it, but it was definitely fun getting to see such a scene. We went to see a show with a walrus and seal, then we headed over to eat.

After eating, Jamila and I rode a whale and then flew up on some tea cups and then we headed into the next station with the rest of the team. We went in to see different ocean animals: sharks, dolphins, sting rays, jelly fishes, and sea turtles. We took many pictures and looked at all the different types of fishes swimming around us. At around 3pm we headed over to the theatre to see the dolphin show. We saw beluga whales and dolphins swimming, jumping, and doing other cool tricks. We said goodbye to the dolphins and other animals and then headed home. It was a fun day at Ocean World, but we were happy to be back home to rest after the long ride back. We thanked Han and Ke for taking us and then headed into our rooms.

Our Photos

Hubei Provincial Museum

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 13, 2013

A Glimpse of Chinese History

Today we headed over to the Hubei Provincial Museum. We took the bus and after about an hour and a very bumpy ride, we got off at the entrance to the museum. It was three stories high and had a variety of halls for show. We started at the Hall of Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng where we saw various artifacts that were excavated in 1978 from the tomb of the feudal King buried 2,400 years ago. There were many different types of pots, plates, cups, and other such containers found within the tomb. There were also a series of musical instruments, the biggest one being a set of bells that took about half the room. All these artifacts embodied the spiritual and material life that took place 2,400 years ago.

After the tomb hall, we went upstairs to see the hall of the Yunxian man which featured fossils and tools that came from the Paleolithic Homo erectus era discovered within the middle reaches of the Yangtze river. We also saw the hall of Records on Jiuliandun, which had chariots and weapons on display from the Chu era, and the hall of Quijialing and hall of Panlongcheng which featured different tools and utensils used in everyday life in the Neolithic era and Shang Dynasty.

We took a break and went downstairs to see traditional Chinese paintings by Tang Wenxuan, a national class-A artist who has contributed significant freehand paintings that retain great historical and artistic value. There were so many beautiful pieces of art on silk scrolls hanging all around. The scenery in every scroll made you want to learn more and explore all the places that China has.

After finishing up all the exhibits we went back outside to find a place to eat. We got on the bus and then stopped to take a look at the Chu River and Han street. The Chu river is an artificial river that connects the East Lake to the Shahu lake in Wuhan and can be seen as you walk across Han street. There were many shops and pretty buildings there. We walked across the whole street and then headed back to HUST.

We went into a hot pot restaurant and waited to be seated. Throughout our meal the power kept going out in the building, so we got to a point where we ate with many candles around us. It was fun, but we were sure tired. Once we finished, we went back home to do some chores and relax.

Our Photos
Our Photos

Our SMPS Design

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 15, 2013

Adding a TOP Switch Controller

On Wednesday and Thursday we worked together on figuring out which type of SMPS we would use for our design. We researched more and looked into the different components that made up a SMPS. We decided that we would include a TOP switch controller in our design to improve the efficiency and stability of the SMPS.

We met up with Professor Zou and discussed our ideas with him. He told us that we had chosen a good design and then gave us some tips. He told us that we should look more into the TOP switch controller and study it. After the meeting, Professor Zou gave us access to PI Expert, a program that generates a circuit schematic based on the properties desired. We used the program to come up with different designs and see the efficiency with each one. We also had to make sure that the parts used int the circuit were within the price range.

Dinner time came around and we packed up and then went to the cafeteria. After dinner we decided to go walk around school. When it started getting darker outside we went back to our rooms.

Our Photos

Lunch Meeting with Professor Xavier

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 16, 2013

Gaining Some Valuable Advice

On Friday we stayed in our rooms to do work because the internet had been acting strange in lab. We were going to meet with Professor Xavier later on in the day, so we began to wrap up with our work and then we headed over to lab to meet with Han. Professor Xavier's workplace was outside the University, so we had to go to the bus stop and wait for the bus that would take us closer to his office.

We arrived at the Optics Valley Software Park, a business area that has many companies involved in the production of fibre-optic, electronics and pharmaceutical products. We went into Chip Now, a research center for integrated circuit design in Wuhan, and met up with Professor Xavier. We were very happy to see Professor Xavier, because he always makes us feel welcomed and makes sure that we are doing good. We went to a cafe that is very popular among the young workers in the park area.

When we walked in we could hear the piano being played. Professor Xavier told us that there was always live music during the day. It seemed like a very comfortable place to work and relax, so we were definitely looking forward to having a meal there. The waitress led us into a room and handed us menus. Professor Xavier recommended the steak, one of the main dishes of the cafe, so we all decided to try it. The meal included a plate of fruit, some salad, shrimp, mushroom soup, the main course, and some dessert.

While we waited for our meal, we had a very long conversation with Professor Xavier. We learned that he had been with the current company he works at now since it first opened in 2002. We also learned that he studied at HUST when he was younger. He obtained his BS, MS, and PhD in Microelectronics from 1981 to 1995. We asked him many different questions including his reasons for choosing his major and his thoughts of Mexican food. Professor Xavier also got to know us and asked us some of his own questions. It was a very fun time getting to know him more.

When our food arrived we began to eat. Every dish was delicious and the steak that Professor Xavier recommended was the best part. It was my first time trying steak, so it was definitely a great experience.

After our meal we had talked some more over some delicious tea. Professor Xavier began to tell us some more about the companies that were starting up in Wuhan and how it has now become one of the greatest cities researching in the field of Optoelectronics. It is int he heart if China, so it is becoming a place where everyone wants to bring their business' to.

Professor Xavier also began to tell us about how although he is not involved with the NSF program, he is happy that we are doing such research. He told us that in order for a business between two people to work, each person should understand the other's culture. Every country works differently and every culture has different ideas on what is important for a business to succeed, so when one understands these rules, the business will run smoothly. In China for example a business is a political business, because the government is involved in many processes. This is the type of information on should be able to understood when planning to do business here. He also told us that he would rather his son and his students work at startup companies. This way they are able to make the company grow and become something bigger and better. The students do not have to follow what the company wants for them, but they can make their ideas into something big. They can work with what they want.

He ended by telling us that over the past 30 years he has seen and learned many things. He told us that not all of his old classmates ended up working in the field they started out with, but many of them grew to learn many more things. They found what they loved and began business. He told us that at every meeting he always sees his companions trying to build and from partnerships with others. They do not let any opportunities go. We really appreciated every single piece of advice and information that Professor Xavier gave us. We can tell that he, just like Professor Wang, wants the best for his students and really hopes to see them achieve the best.

We finished drinking out last cups of tea and then headed out. It was definitely a privilege to have sat and chatted with Professor Xavier. His advice will definitely stick with us for the rest of our careers and lives.

Our Photos

A Weekend in Jingzhou Day 1

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 17, 2013

Meeting New People

On Saturday we got up super early to get ready to leave. We would be visiting Jingzhou, a city next to Han's hometown and near the Three Gorges Dam. While there we would be interacting with students from Yangtze University and we would be visiting some interesting landmarks around the area.

We took the subway to the train station, and from there we took the high speed rail to Jingzhou. When we arrived, Han's father and mother were outside the train station waiting for our arrival. They greeted us with a very warm welcome and then led us to the front of the station to take a picture.There we met Mr. Lee, a friend of Han's parents who would be taking us around while in Jingzhou. We put our luggage in the car and then went to our first destination.

We entered a hotel and went up to the second floor restaurant. There we were greeted by Mr. Mo Yongdang and his assistant Fei from Yangtze University. Mr. Yongdang is the Program Manager of the Office of International Exchange & Cooperation at Yangtze University. He wanted to talk to us about his university and its growing international exchange program. We learned that at Yangtze University, petroleum engineering is the number one major and there is a school just for it. The program at Yangtze University was very impressive, because there was so much that the school had to offer. There is a variety of majors and there are many schools inside the university. Mr. Yongdang told us that they want to increase the amount of international students at Yangtze University, especially the number of Americans, because at the moment there were only two. He extended an invitation to our university and told us that there would be many accommodations made for our stay in the school. It was definitely a very tempting invitation, and something that we will be looking forward to in the future. We thanked Mr. Yongdang and Fei for such a warm welcome and invitation to their city. We would definitely keep in touch with them and make sure that we got a connection for them at UCR.

Our next stop was the hotel. We arrived and unpacked. Then we took a small break before heading out again. This time we were going to go to Yangtze University. We went into a conference room inside one of the administrator buildings and sat down. We had arrived to the meeting first, so we waited a couple of minutes before the students came in. The students were physics majors who were in their final year at Yangtze University. They were all studying for their university exams needed in order to apply for graduate school. We all introduced ourselves and then we asked each other questions. It was interesting to see how similar and at the same time how different we were.

After the meet and greet, they took us to the physics building were we got a tour of their labs and the different types of work they did. They had so many tools and equipment in all their labs. It made all of us wish we had access to such machines in our UCR labs. When the lab tour was over we went out and headed towards the dinner location. We all sat around and waited for the table to be served. Once the table was ready, we sat down and began to eat. We talked for a bit more after dinner and then we headed out. We were extremely happy that we had met such an awesome group of students, but we were also very exhausted from the long trip. We went back to the hotel and rested for the rest of the night.


Our Photos

A Weekend in Jingzhou Day 2

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 18, 2013

Learning More About the Chu Culture

The next morning we got up bright and early to head to the Xiong Jia Tomb. Our first stop though, was breakfast. We arrived at this small restaurant where Han would go to as a young lad. He ordered some noodles for us along with a rice drink. When the noodles came, they looked like spaghetti with meat sauce. We all fell in love with this dish. The flavor was definitely not that of spaghetti and meatballs, but it was something even more delicious. We thanked Han for bringing us to his favorite noodle place and we thanked the owner for having us.

We drove for over an hour before getting to the location of the Xiong Jia Tomb. When we got off we saw green hills and plants all around us. We thought that we would be inside a museum type of environment, but for the first half of the tour we were outside getting the background information on the Tomb. Our tour guide only spoke in Mandarin, so Ke and Han translated whatever they were able to. It is the largest and best preserved tomb from the State of Chu in the Warring States Period, which meant that it was over 2,000 years old.

We walked up the path that led to two hills and then headed towards the bigger hill to go inside. It is believed that the tomb belongs to an Emperor from the State of Chu. There was still much that needed to be excavated, including the Emperor's main tomb, so this was a very recent discovery. When we went inside we saw various little sections that had not been completely dug out, but that still had artifacts like pottery and tools displayed. One of the bigger and more known sections of the tomb contained many chariots with horse skeletons. There were over 100 horses found and there was still more to be dug up. Each chariot contained a different number of horses, which showed the ranking of the people who rode them. The main chariot with six horses was believed to be that of the emperor. As we walked around we saw all the chariots and horses. The tour guide told us that back then horses were extremely expensive and the only people who could afford such animals had to be very wealthy, so the person who had all those very healthy and strong horses buried with him must have been extremely important and powerful. This was the reason why they believed that it was an old Chu Emperor buried there.

When we were done with touring some of the excavated sites, we went outside and found more surprises. There were about 92 graves next to the main tomb. These were believed to have been the Emperor's servants and favorite people who were killed to accompany the Emperor in the next life. This was a burial custom of the State of Chu, that served to make those buried show dedication to the master. When we were done with the tour we climbed up to the top of the tomb to see the view. Even though the temperature was definitely draining our energy quickly, it was nice getting to see the rural parts of China. After finding our way back to the car, we went off on our way back to the city.

When we arrived we headed to go see the wall that protected the old State of Chu. While there we took pictures and even had time to dress in some old period of Chu outfits. It was fun, but it was too hot to keep the clothes on for long. We went to eat and then headed to the Jingzhou Museum. We were extremely happy when we arrived at the museum, because Han's girlfriend Zhu was able to get us an English speaking tour guide. It was nice hearing Han and Ke translate everything, but having an English guide, helped us get every single detail behind every piece that we saw. There were many artifacts in the museum from the old State of Chu period. From pieces of jewelry made of jade, to instruments with deer horns, to silk dresses with very sophisticated needlework, we were able to see it all and understand the history behind it.

One of the most known exhibitions in the Jingzhou museum was that of the almost perfectly preserved male corpse of a Han-Dynasty official. It was unfortunate though, that the exhibition was under construction and for that reason we were not able to see it. We thanked our tour guide for the great session and then headed out to have some dinner. It was a very long day filled with so many great events. When we were done we headed for the hotel and then relaxed for the rest of the day.

Our Photos 1
Our Photos 2

Three Gorges Dam

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 19, 2013

A Full View of the Yangtze River

We got up early in the morning in order to grab breakfast at the noodle place that Han had taken us to the day before. It was absolutely delicious, so we were very sad that we would not have them again after this mini vacation. We said goodbye to the owner and thanked them for having us, then we headed back to the hotel to checkout.

By the time we were done checking out, Mr. Lee was already outside waiting for us to leave. We got all our luggage in the car and then headed out to our next destination: Three Gorges Dam. It was a very long ride to the dam, so most of us took a nap. As we got closer to the dam, the scenery became more and more breathtaking. When we arrived at the Three Gorges Dam entrance we were directed to a bus.

Because there would be too many cars heading to the Dam, they decided that it would be better to just have their own service that would take the visitors to the Three Gorges Dam parks. There were three different parks that we were able to view. Each one had a closer view of the dam.
Because we had to leave back to Wuhan that day, we had to hurry a bit if we wanted to see everything. The Yangtze River looked strong and beautiful along with the dam. The idea of falling in seemed very scary, so we kept our distance. When we were done with all the parks, we headed back to the bus and then into our car. We had some lunch and then we headed to the train station. We thank Mr. Lee for taking us to all our sites and then we went on our way. This weekend was definitely the best mini vacation we have had.We were thankful to Han and Ke for coming along with us and experiencing such a great time with us.

Our Photos

Completing Our First SMPS Design

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 21-23, 2013

A Work in Progress

We came up with a PCB design using the PI expert program. Daniel and Andrew both thought up of different ways we could take the design. Jamila helped put her input into the design and I was able to learn more about how one begins to create a PCB. Andrew led us through his thought about the design PI expert gave us and then we headed up to show Professor Zou what we would need to fix. Professor Zou told us that our design was a good start, but there were some things that we needed to improve on. He told us that some of the wires needed to be thicker. He also asked us about the heat sink and if there would be enough space for it to be placed next to the Top Switch.

We appreciated the input and advice that Professor Zou took the time to give us. When he was done, we headed back down to talk about the different changes we could make. We saw that some of the changes he asked us to make were already on the other design that we had. We decided that we would switch our design and go on from there. We would gather around Andrew's computer and work on the design. This is what we continued to do for the rest of the week.

Guiyuan Temple and Wuhan Zoo

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 24, 2013

Visiting a Buddhist Temple and Seeing Some Animals

We got up and headed to go see the Guiyuan Temple. When we got off the bus, we walked down a street filled with different stores and booths with fortune tellers. Jamila and I were very tempted to go to a booth just to see what would happen, but we decided not to. When we got to the temple we were given incense sticks. Ke led us to the place where we could burn the sticks and make some sort of request to the Buddhist gods. The temple was filled with many people, but it was very calm and peaceful. We went all around and saw the various Buddhist statues and prayer places.

As we headed to the outer section of the temple, we saw a pond filled with many turtles. They were of all different sizes. It was a really cute sight. We walked to the back of the temple and saw the giant statue of Guiyuan. It was a very beautiful statue that stood next to a small pond. We sat and relaxed for a bit and then we headed to the Wuhan Zoo.

When we arrived at the zoo, we bought our tickets and then began our tour. It was an extremely hot day, so we were taking it slow. We stopped by a pond filled with Koi fish being fed by some of the visitors. There were so many of them trying to get some food. Behind the Koi fish pond, we saw some bears. There was a black and brown bear, but they were laying down, so we could not really see them. After waiting for a bit, we decided to keep on going. We found ourselves at the monkey area and then at the rhino and zebra area.

There was one animal that we were all dying to see: pandas. We saw a sign that led the way to the panda section and walked towards that direction. When we arrived, we saw many people crowding around. One of the pandas was sleeping and the other one was far away on the other side. We were not able to get a good look at them, so it was a little disappointing, but we continued hoping to see some other cool animals.

Because of the heat most of the animals were sleeping. We decided to take a water break and then continued to see some of the last animals in the zoo. When we were done we decided to head back home. Before getting on the bus to go home, Ke asked us if we wanted to take a ferry across the Yangtze River. We unanimously said yes, so we went a different way. We arrived at one of Wuhan's oldest parts, which now contained many stores and various malls. We went inside the mall to have a late lunch. When we were done we walked around the mall and then headed out.

It was pouring outside, so we decided to head in a different direction. We went inside another mall to wait for the rain to calm down a bit. When we saw that it wasn't as strong, we headed out heading to the ferry port. We made it halfway when all of a sudden it began to pour hard again. We walked down a strip of shops finding shelter inside one of them for a bit. When we saw that the rain stopped completely we headed out again.

We got onto the ferry and then went up to the top of the deck. The Yangtze River was very wide and scary, but at the same time it was very beautiful. We were so happy that the rain did not stop us from riding the ferry. It was a very nice ride along the Yangtze River. When we got off, we went to the bus stop and then went back home.

Our Photos 1
Our Photos 2

Finishing Up Our Work

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 26-30, 2013

Our Last Week in Lab

Because there was not enough time to send our design to be printed, Professor Zou decided that we would be working alongside some of his students in the circuit building process. A group of his students had designed a similar SMPS, but with different output values. Their circuit did not work properly though, so they were trying to figure out why. On Monday we were given the circuit board and component list in order to begin to solder the parts onto the board. For the rest of the day we worked on putting the board together and fixing up our own design.

There was not enough time left to show the new changes we had made to our SMPS that day, so we waited for the next morning in order to talk to Professor Zou. We finished soldering all the components by Tuesday afternoon. We began to test the output values with the help of  Zhao one of the new master students in Professor Zou's lab. We found that we did not get the same values that were supposed to be output. We began to check our design to see if anything had been done wrong. We could not find anything right away, so we decided that we would begin to look for the problem in the morning with clear minds.

The next morning we came in and we began to test the output of the circuit. We followed the path and saw how the values changed with each component the path followed. We found that one of our main problems was the transformer. We compared our board to another board that the graduate students had built earlier in the day and saw that the values we were getting differed when it came time to go through the transformer. For this reason, we decided that we would change the transformer and check if it was just the component that was the problem. We found that we still had a couple of problems to fix, so we kept going through the board and changed some of the other components.

It wasn't long before we were finally able to come up with an output within range of the correct values. We went back to our design and modified it. We showed our final product to Professor Zou and he gave us some more feedback. Although we were not able to print our PCB design, we were able to gain a lot of insight into the field of microelectronics. The research process is not an easy one, but with each step progress is made even if it is in the tiniest form. We were able to design a SMPS and we were able to improve it significantly. We were also able to work alongside such brilliant minds and we got to help them test their own SMPS design.

This research experience might have been over at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, but it was just the beginning of future work we will be doing. We gave Professor Zou a card and thanked him for all the feedback and support he gave us. We went downstairs and thanked all our lab mates for all the help they gave us, then we said our goodbyes and left. We were definitely sad that we would no longer be working alongside such amazing students, but we knew that somehow we would come back and work with them again someday.

Our Photos

Wuhan East Lake

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • August 31, 2013

Visiting the Largest Urban Lake in China

Today we met up with Ke and headed out to get some breakfast. We went to Yonghe Express Food. The imperial noodles served there remind us of the same noodles we had in Jingzhou, so we take advantage of the times we get to go there.

After our delicious breakfast we went out to the bus stop. Ke told us that the east lake was not far away, so we would not be on the bus for long. After about 7 stops, we had arrived at the entrance to the East Lake national scenic area center. We decided that we would only go into the Moshan Scenic Area, because it had the most areas to see and it would take the longest to see. The Moshan Scenic Area is known as the "green treasure house" because of the 250 kinds of ornamental tree species of over 2,000,000 plants. When we entered the garden, we saw lotus everywhere we turned along with various trees. We saw beautiful images in the background everywhere we turned. For this reason we would stop very often to take pictures. We walked by many ponds filled with Koi fish and lotus flowers, and then we stopped at a child park filled with small rides for kids.

After our rest we decided to take the cable car to the top of the mountain where the Chutian Tower was located. When we arrived we explored for a bit before going inside the tower. Inside we found that the tower was like a museum, showing various books and pieces of art inside. We went up to the second floor and saw that it was similar to the yellow crane tower. We could see most of the East lake from the top. After exploring most of the tower, we went in and sat down for a Chutian performance. There were people dressed in Chu period clothing who sat down to play traditional Chinese instruments. We were most excited to see the large bronze bells instrument being played, because it seemed to be a favorite piece from old Chu culture. The music was played beautifully and the traditional Chinese dancers made it feel even more amazing.

Once our tour of the Chutian tower was done, we headed down to the East lake. We got on a boat and went all around the lake. The lady rowing the boat was very kind to us and made our ride very fun and exciting. She took us to a section of the lake where there were many lotus flowers and let us pick one out. She then took us to the end of the lake and walked us all the way to the bus stop. We thanked her for everything and then we went on our way.

We decided that we would eat at a restaurant we saw on our way to the lake. The restaurant was over water, so you could see the koi fish and lotus flowers around you while you ate. The view was even more breathtaking as the sun set and the lanterns began to light up. It was sad to know that soon we would be leaving such a beautiful place, but we were making sure to enjoy every moment of it.

Our Photos

Our Final Goodbye

  • Posted by: Susana Jaimes
  • September 2-4, 2013

Farewell China

We came across a problem on the last weekend at HUST. Because the school-year was about to begin, there were many international students moving in to their reserved dorms for the rest of the year. Our rooms were accidentally checked out to other international students, so we had to relocate to another room. We had to pack up all our belongings and then carry our luggage downstairs and to the other side of the apartment block. After settling in into our new home for the next 2 days, we went out to get some snacks and we got together to discuss our plans for our farewell dinner.

The next day we decided to go and order a cake for Professor Xavier, Ke, Han, and Professor Wang. Unfortunately though we had to tell Ke because we did not know exactly what to do at the bakery. After our trip to the bakery, we went back to the apartments to get ready for our final dinner with Professor Xavier, our host students Ke and Han, and Professor Wang. It was definitely a very bittersweet moment, but we tried to think of only the happy moments that were ahead.

We went to the main office to check the procedures for checking out and made sure that we had everything prepared. We walked over to the cake shop to pick up the cake and then took it back to the apartments. An hour later Professor Xavier came to pick us up. We met up with Professor Wang and two other professors at the restaurant. We talked for a bit, and then sat down around the table when the food was ready. We had new and old dishes chosen by Professor Xavier. We did a toast and thanked our host Professor and host students for their guidance and amazing support throughout our stay in Wuhan. When we were done eating, we gave our Thank you cards to Professor Xavier and Professor Wang, and then we presented the cake. We were extremely fortunate to have met and to have been able to work alongside such an amazing group of people. We cut the cake and then passed out each slice. When we were done, we talked for a bit more and then we went back to our apartments.

The following day we decided to take Ke and Han out for our last lunch together. They took us to a place outside of HUST known for it's crawfish. We had a fun meal together. Although this was not the last meal that we would have together, it seemed like it was the last time when all six of us would be spending time alone together. We finished lunch and then left to finish our last minute packing and shopping. We went to the HUST souvenir store and then to the post office to send some postcards. In the evening, we met up with Ke and Han along with Han's girlfriend. They decided that we would go and try some Sichuan food for our last meal in China. We took the bus to the restaurant and then got off at the shopping area where we first saw a movie together. We had a variety of spicy Sichuan province dishes. Every dish was extremely delicious and every moment was extremely precious, so we made sure to use all the time to talk and create some last memories. When we finished, we gave Han and Ke our Thank You cards and then we headed out. Outside we said our final goodbye to Han and his girlfriend.

None of us actually felt like we were going to leave, so when we said goodbye to Han, it felt like we would be able to see him again the next morning. We tried not think of the reality that would soon have to sit in. We went back and decided to stop by and sit in on Professor Xavier's lecture. When we walked in, Professor Xavier welcomed us and introduced us to his classroom. Professor Xavier always knew how to make us feel welcomed and at home. Although his lecture was completely in Mandarin, we were able to understand some of the things he talked about thanks to the powerpoint presentation he used. Professor Xavier was also very interactive with his students' so we were kept intrigued. When the break period came, Professor Xavier came to talk to us and made sure that we had everything we needed. He told us to go home and have a good rest because our journey back home would begin very early in the morning. We followed his advice and went back to our dorm. Ke came with us and helped us pack. She then left home, but told us she would be back to see us off in the morning. We got everything ready for tomorrow's trip and then went to bed.

The next day, we emptied our rooms and returned our keys to the main office. We loaded everything into Professor Xavier's car, said our final goodbye to Ke, and then set off. It was raining that day, so we were a little bit worried about our flight being delayed. When we got to the airport we thanked Professor Xavier for allowing us to have a wonderful time in Wuhan by giving us his support and advice throughout the trip. We knew we would keep in touch because he told us that he might be coming to California soon. We were definitely excited about that! We thanked him one last time and began walking inside the airport.

After three plane rides and over 24 hours of traveling, we finally landed in California. We are very tired, so we were happy to be out of the airport. We were so thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. The memories and the experience we were able to gain from it will never be forgotten. Thank you National Science Foundation and Professor Wang for everything. We will make sure to use the skills we gained in order to help improve technology in the fields that we begin to embark on.

Our Photos


Take a look at our Adventures

First Orientation

Our first time in Dr. Wang's lab

UC-Light Projects

The car used in the navigation part of the presentation. It would receive data from the LED's and traffic light signal and decode it.

UC-Light Preparation

Preparing the materials and making sure that everything is ready

UC-Light Preparation

More pictures of us preparing!

UC-Light Presentation

The moment before the guests came into the lab

UC-Light Presentation

Susan before her speech