Shikai Deng is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University starting in January 2018. He received a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2012 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering with Dr. Vikas Berry at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2017. He also worked as a full-time graduate research assistant with Dr. Anirudha V. Sumant at Center for Nanoscale Materials in Argonne National Laboratory in 2017. His research interest is on structure and properties modification of two-dimensional nanomaterials. Shikai likes to try any kind of food but loves Asian food. He also loves Mandopop, K-pop and country music and watching baseball games.
Can you tell us a little bit about the company/organization you work for and what your day to day looks like?
“I am working as a postdoc fellow with Professor Teri W. Odom at department of chemistry in Northwestern University. The daily duty is similar to work as PhD student in a research lab.
On a macro- or micro-scopic level, how does this contribute to the chemical engineering field? What is the impact that your work has?
“We are mostly focusing on the research on the understanding of the effect of structure modification on properties of two-dimensional nanomaterials. Based on our research, we may could have new materials for novel design of next generation electronic devices.”
What are some challenges/obstacles/difficulties that you have encountered or foresee encountering in you work?
“We have to identify the problems and unsolved problems in our field and come up with new hypotheses or ideas to solve these challenges, and further demonstrate our theory by experimental investigation.”
How did you hear about this opportunity? How would you recommend other students go about getting similar opportunities?
“I think postdoc training is a valuable experience for graduate students who have the will to further exploring their research fields and to become an independent research as their career.”
Working full time is heavy load for some. How do you manage everything you need to get done?
“I think it is important to have a clear plan what should be done and what the order of these things need to be done. It is better to finish some jobs earlier than the deadline.”
Stress takes its toll on everyone. What do you do for fun or to unwind from work?
“Hanging out with friends, enjoying different kinds of food, hiking at lakefront and running.”
Chicago is known as a “Global City”. What do you like best about the City of Chicago?
“Summer in Chicago is the best! The lakefront is amazing. We also have plenty of options for various food. Museums and art institute are awesome.”