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Suhan's Story

My Chinese name is 苏汉, pronounced as Su Han. While I was in high school my friends gave me the nickname “SoHigh”, which has stuck with me into university. I was born in Baoding, which is located in Hebei Province, and I attended high school in Tianjin. I have always been interested in doing interesting things. In Chinese, we say “you yisi” when we find something interesting. This term has several implications including “interest” and “meaningfulness”, to me it basically means I like things that hold my interest and bring meaning to my life. Read more.

I haven’t experienced anything profoundly life changing like war, but I believe every experience in life can be formative. In my life, I have lived in small towns and big cities, I have met people speaking different languages and dialects. I have observed people enjoying peaceful, quiet lives in small towns, and watched others pursuing their dreams in big cities, struggling yet enjoying the struggle. In terms of Kant’s “categorical imperative”, if I wish to find meaning, I must live and experience many things.

NYU Shanghai is one such experience. I have much to say about this school, but at this point I have gotten used to talking about this school to others. I heard about NYU Shanghai from a news story on CCTV, and I fell in love with the name of the school. I really appreciate the opportunities to study away at NYU Shanghai, it allows us to “read columns of books” while “travelling thousands of miles”.

Though NYU Shanghai itself is an experience, it is also a platform which gives students a way to access new experiences such as iGem. 2015 was the first time our school participated in iGEM; our team was relatively “young”, and we lacked a solid research background. However, we were able to go to the competition and do iGEM with NYU Shanghai characteristics – meaning we had a great diversity of majors, half of us were IMA or computer science majors with design or programming experience. Taking stock of our relative strengths, we decided to do a project that combined art, technology, and biology. We synthesized the three disciplines into one project, and so we named our project “synthesized”.

I enjoyed the entire process of the project, especially when it came time to show people our results. The positive feedback was overwhelming, and I truly enjoyed the diverse range of reactions we got, from “awesome” and “amazing” to “disorienting” and “crazy”, even the somewhat non sequitur description of it as “cute”.