Hello my name is Zeyuan Chen or as my friends would call me: Zee. I was born in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China, also referred to as the City of Enternal Springs. The city received this nick name because of its pleasantly warm weather with sporadic drizzles of rain all year round. However, interestingly, Kunming had a blizzard of the century around the few days I was born. I am not sure what it means or if it has any meaning at all but thinking about it makes me feel like my birth is some kind of divine intervention. My days in Kunming did not last long. Soon, my parents and I moved to Tianjin where we resided until I was almost nine years old. At the age of seven or eight, my dad moved to the United States as a post doc doing research at Dayton University. He stayed there for a few years with hope that my mom and I would join him in the United States. One day, my mom came home with the biggest smile I had ever seen. That night, she cooked a fancy dinner and told me that we were going to America. From then until now, I have lived in the United States for 13 years.
Within these 13 years, my family moved around for while. First, it was Arkansas where I attended elementary school for about two years. Shortly after graduating elementary school, we moved to Orange County, California, where I attended one year of middle school. After that, we moved to Rochester, New York where I was able to finish middle and high school.
In 2008, I graduated from Brighton High School with acceptance to some of the most prestigious art schools in the United States such as Pratt Institute. Despite my intentions of going into graphic design or architecture, I ultimately decided to go to Stony Brook University and then applied to be part of the physics department. This decision had substantial influence from my dad since he received his PhD in China as a physics major. I guess it was my lack of interest in the subject that made me feel like even the most basic physics courses were harder than they really were. After taking a few courses in physics, I knew I had to change my major. I just didn't know what I should change it to. I didn't want to take too long to graduate and I wanted a major that had almost the same pre-requisites as physics. It was not until my junior year -- when I met a friend who suggested I go to an Atmospheric Science seminar about lightning that I found a major that I am interested in.
After changing to Atmospheric Science, I began working hard to boost my GPA. Knowing that I only have a short time left and having the idea of going to graduate kept me focused. I was even able to squeeze in a REU program at Washington State University over the summer before graduating this semester. Since this is my last semester, I wanted to do more research before going to graduate school which is why I have joined the Laser Teaching Center to work with John Noé. We will be researching about laser, waves, or optical applications in atmospheric science!