Zifan Lin: 'I have authored or co-authored several research papers'

Zifan Lin
Guangzhou, China

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

My long-term career goal is to become a researcher in astronomy, and I believe the research skills I gained from working on exoplanetary research projects at Cornell will be a valuable cornerstone for my future success. These projects involve many critical aspects of working in academia, including programming, data analyzing, scientific writing and presenting at a professional conference.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

I was a member of the Cornell Astronomical Society. During public open house I would give visitors introductions to the Fuertes Observatory, the telescopes, the collection in the museum and what excites all visitors the most, the night sky. It was a great opportunity to share my passion in astronomy with others and to practice communicating science to a broader audience.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I took a backcountry photography course with Cornell Outdoor Education, and its main activity was a hiking tour to a nearby state forest. It was my first time walking in the wilderness for days and appreciating the beauty of nature with a group of fellow students who soon became friends with each other. While the hiking tour was physically exhausting, it was mentally relaxing and stimulated my interest in outdoor activities.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am most proud of my accomplishments in research. I have authored or co-authored several research papers focusing on high-resolution simulated spectra for a wide range of planets — potentially habitable worlds orbiting faint, cool stars in the solar neighborhood; planets around dim stellar remnants; and our own Earth at different stages of its evolution.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Identify the field of study that excites you the most, and don't hesitate to challenge yourself in that field.

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 Zifan Lin