Shu Tao is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Biology specializing in bioinformatics and computational biology at Georgetown University. What led to his decision to come to the United States to study is the chance to do research abroad. "I'm from Chongqing province of China and before I came to the United States I got my bachelor's degree in Bio-engineering and my master's degree in Genetics. So when I was pursuing my master's degree my advisor (Jun Yu and Songnian Hu) advised me if you can go abroad to the United States states for a PhD that is pretty good for your scientific career because as a science major its good to follow different advisors because sometimes different advisors have different opinions or different research interests," he says.
"So if you follow different advisors you can benefit from different ideas and different kind of thoughts, so its good to shape your own scientific thoughts and your future research endeavors. This is a good experience so after I got my master's degree in China I went to Georgetown University to do some computational biology anaylsis in Christine Elsik lab.
Along with his studies, Shu volunteers as an International Graduate Orientation Ambassador and serves as president of Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the university. "I came to Georgetown in 2008 in the summer and that is when I knew of this program called the International Graduate Student Orientation also known as IGO and that is organized by the office of international programs to help new incoming international students get use to the environment here at Georgetown University and Washington, DC. Just to help you make this transition from living in another country to living in Georgetown making this process as smooth as possible to make you love this place and get involved in the campus,"he says. "So this time I was busy with my PhD qualifying exam so I didn't have that much time to participate in this program, but this year I have some time to join the IGO and be an ambassador for the newly incoming international students and to give back to better help them to get use to the life here," he says.
"Also, I was elected as the president of the Chinese Students and the Scholars Association at Georgetown University also known as CSSA-GU. This is one of the organizations of Georgetown University so in recent years especially since 2004 there are more and more Chinese students and scholars from China came to Georgetown Univeristy for there masters, for there PhD or as an exchange scholars so they came here to do some research or to take some courses, so our organization also help those Chinese students we organize some new students a welcoming party, barbque and a Chinese New Year party to make them feel comfortable here so its a pretty good experience."
Shu says his PhD program can take several years depending on his research progress. When asked if there is something he would like to say in Chinese about Georgetown University he says... "I would like to give my thanks to Georgetown University for providing me such a good chance to study and be here in the United States and get to know so many professional professors and teachers that have given me such a good chance to live here and communicate with other people and I cherish this chance very much and I will try my very best to know as much as I can to be a qualified PhD student. I also want to thank my parents and my relatives in China and my previous advisors in Chinese Academy of Sciences and also my current advisor Dr. Christine Elsik they give me so much help and encourage me to do what I want in science and to help me with my research everyday. So I really appreciate all the help and encouragement from them so thanks to them very much."