Duke University student Jing Tao
Duke University student Jing Tao

The field of Science has always interest Jing Tao.  Getting an opportunity to study under a female scientist [Ana Barros] as well as work on her PhD was possible at Duke University. "I am from China and I think my choice is
correct because studying here is very helpful for my career because I want to be a female scientist and I already got my master's degree in China before I came here," she says.  

My master advisor is very nice and I love to do research with him, however my major during my master program was kind of narrow and I was very interested in Hydrology and so I decided to change my major to Hydrology and then I applied to five universities in the U-S and my current advisor at Duke offered me this opportunity and my advisor here is a very successful female scientist," she says.  I really admire her and I want to study with her."

Much of Jing Tao research at Duke has to deal with hydrology.  Just what that is, she tells us.  "Actually, hydrology is the study of what kind of process is related to water like the stream flow to the rainfall to the very heavy rainfall. Of course this is just one aspect there are alot of other aspects in hydrology."

From the campus itself to the professors at the university, Jing has nothing but positive things to say about Duke University. She says she still tries to find ways to manage her time as well as improve her English language skills.  "The campus is very very beautiful and at the beginning when I got here, I had to get use to the situation and a little home sick and language was really a big problem for me, but the professors and the students here are very friendly and my advisors are so very nice and I think so far my life and study here I think I am very comfortable now here," she says.

"The classes I need to do my class work and I also need to do some research work. The problem for me is that I cannot balance the time very well because I need to spend some time on class and some time on research, yes its a little problem but I can handle it and another thing is that before I got here I never knew that for the English language but not for the English itself for example either I can understand one person very well, but for another person maybe he has some accent I cannot understand him at all," she says.  Well, I am still learning how to communicate with people from different countries."

To help international students enrolled in graduate degree programs with their English language skills, Duke offers the English for International Students program. Jing Tao says the program helped her improve her English language skills.  "I enrolled into two graduate English courses.  One is for oral english and another is academic writing and both of the classes were very, very helpful," she says.  "We did alot of discussion during the class and we also had some fake interviews and I think after those classes I got a lot of confidence in speaking English. Before I was very uncomfortable to speak loudly because I was worried maybe I would make some mistake and people would laugh at me, but now I am okay with that."

While off for the summer, Jing Tao says she will concentrate on her research. Jing says she hopes to finish her PhD degree in four years.