Pivoting With the Shifting Landscape

The pandemic opened Muyan Jiang up to endless possibilities and rigorous academic research.

Name: Muyan Jiang
Major(s): Mathematics and Computer Science
Division: Science
Home Country: China

Muyan Jiang did not waste time getting involved in research. From his first year, he took many opportunities to gain valuable experience resulting in work with a number of professors on a range of research topics. 

“I know in some other big universities, it’s not a common thing to be able to work with so many professors and explore research work that you like,” Jiang explained. “This phenomenon is pretty unique to NYUAD and that’s something I really like. I have the privilege to work with so many professors and use various resources available on campus to enhance my knowledge,” Jiang said. 

When a Great Teacher Comes Along

As a mathematics major, Jiang appreciates that the subject isn’t always seen as the most interesting. But when you get a professor who knows how to deliver abstract and complex analysis in an interesting manner, it makes all the difference. This is where Professor of Mathematics Ilya Spitkovsky came into the picture. 

Professor Spitkovsky is the kind of mathematician who can explain complicated concepts very clearly. While mathematics courses can be dry and intense, Professor Spitkovsky was not only able to make his classes easy to follow, but entertaining with interesting examples. “At the same time, he's a very nice person who is very patient at explaining things and accommodating student needs,” Jiang added.  

A Change in Perspective

Muyan Jiang, NYUAD Class of 2022.

Jiang was planning to pursue a PhD in mathematics after graduation. While his passion for mathematics endures, the pandemic has opened up other possibilities. Throughout the past two years, Jiang was involved in projects related to COVID-19, utilizing his knowledge in computer science and collaborating with professors from NYUAD, as well as researchers from Europe, to understand more about the virus. The more Jiang got involved in these projects, the more he saw potential to broaden his scope. As well as diving deeper into the theoretical aspect of academia, Jiang realized he could also create projects that are practical and can be implemented in real life.

“Now I just feel like I have so many possibilities yet to explore, so many interests and other things I really want to try out,” Jiang said. “I can be a professor, I can go into the industry, I can start a startup… there are so many possibilities ahead of me.” 

Jiang will pursue a PhD degree in industrial engineering and operations research at University of California, Berkeley, in the US, conducting research on robotics in a setting of healthcare systems.