Yuan Zhang

Natural resources and applied mathematics major Yuan Zhang, who hails from China and currently lives in New Jersey, is an active member of marching band and wants to obtain a PhD in geodesy. A Difference Makers Scholarship recipient, Zhang plans to do research after he graduates. Here is what he said about his experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I originally came to UConn for engineering, since it has a really great program. However, I switched out of engineering in my first semester because it didn’t feel like a good fit. I changed to natural resources in my fourth semester.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am majoring in natural resources, with a double major in applied mathematics. I chose natural resources for the geomatics concentration. In my opinion, it’s a good blend of math and earth science. I really like both of these subjects, which involve the mathematics of GPS mapping and surveying. In addition, Professor Thomas Meyer introduced me to geodesy and its opportunities, which led to me to choose this major.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I worked for facilities operations during summer as a GPS surveyor. It was the first time I used GPS surveying in a practical way. I measured the angle of distances with equipment,  created an accurate map of an area and figured out the coordinates.

Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. I love participating in the UConn marching band. Because I am an out-of-state student and don’t see my relatives very much, band is like my second family. It’s very rewarding to work with such a huge of number of people, perform music and develop teamwork.

My classes are really interesting and help me learn about my potential career. I especially like learning new things in the  classes taught by my advisor, Professor Meyer.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? Not having enough time to do things has always been a challenge because there are so many activities offered on this campus. From time to time, I need to refocus on my priorities and practice good time management, especially with a heavy schoolwork load and band commitments.

When do you expect to graduate? What then? I will graduate in May 2017. I want to get a PhD in geodesy and become either a a surveyor and researcher with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or a professor. I may work for the government. There are still a lot of uncertainties, but that’s my plan in general.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? Recently, I became a vegan.

When I found out that I received a Difference Makers Scholarship, I was so excited. It really helps me finance my education without worrying about debt.

By Marlese Lessing