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Student Address

Investiture 2021 student address by PhD candidate Boyu Meng:

Transcript

Introduction by Dean Alexis Abramson:

It is now my pleasure to introduce graduating PhD student Boyu Meng to deliver the student address. Boyu's research has focused on the development and translation of novel molecular imaging techniques to improve targeted cancer therapy and immunotherapy.

During his time at Dartmouth, Boyu served as student director of the Cancer Scholars Program and as a mentor for first-year PhD students. Originally from Xi'an, China, Boyu earned his bachelor of arts in physics and biochemistry from DePauw University and his master of science in medical physics from Duke.

Tomorrow, he will earn his doctorate in engineering sciences from Dartmouth. After graduation, Boyu will begin his medical physics residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Boyu is the very first PhD student to graduate from Professor Scott Davis's lab, and he looks forward to joining his faculty advisor, who also happened to earn his PhD from Thayer in 2008, as a fellow alum.

Please welcome the soon-to-be Dr. Boyu Meng.

Remarks by Boyu Meng:

Thank you, Dean Abramson, for the kind introduction. Hello, everyone. I'm truly thrilled to be here today to speak to you in person. As a member of the graduating class, I think we're all wondering what the future holds for us.

The most recent Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum paints a startling picture. Along with the pandemic-spurred economic recession, a wave of automation revolution is causing a "double-disruption" for all workers. Nearly half of all employers expect to reduce their workforce through the integration of technology in the next five years, and by 2025, the number of jobs performed by humans and machines are expected to be about the same.

As a young professional about to enter the workforce, figuring out where we fit, given the challenges ahead, seems especially daunting. Choosing a job is not as simple as taking a quiz from a booklet. The future will require engineering and technology leaders who can navigate the changing landscape within ever-emerging technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. But I believe we as Dartmouth engineers are ready for the challenge, and here's why:

At Dartmouth, all of us have engaged in interdisciplinary coursework and cutting-edge translational research almost every day. Learning from hands-on practices has prepared us to utilize technology to push all kinds of boundaries. But, the most important core of our engineering education is not about our mastery of the material, but our ability to embrace the journey of starting as a student and working toward becoming an expert in a field. After today, we might never work on the same problem set or research project that we spent countless hours on for our degrees, but it's our commitment to finding human-centered solutions and our practice of translating our curiosity for the unknown into innovative technologies that we will carry with us many years after graduating.

Like many of you, some of the most important lessons I’ve learned here are from outside the classroom. As an international student, I moved to the US from a different country. I struggled and had to learn quickly how to adapt to my new environment. Learning about the culture around me and connecting with others to discover common ground has helped me to find a new place to call home in Hanover, even though I was thousands of miles away from my family.

For many of us, Thayer is not just our school. The fellow graduates sitting beside us and the faculty members sitting across this stage are not just classmates and teachers. They are family and the community who nurtured and supported each of us through our time here.

For the years we studied here, we honed our ability to connect with others from across different backgrounds. Whether it's engaging in a conversation about cutting edge technologies with the Jones Seminar speakers over lunch in Jackson, or sharing and learning about student research projects ranging from ice thermodynamic studies in the Arctic Ocean to medical imaging for deep space exploration, these opportunities cultivate important teamwork and collaborations, which have led to fruitful results, critical discussions, and exciting new questions.

We live in a rapidly changing era, where a supercomputer runs trillions of operations per second and intricate machine learning algorithms automatically learn and improve from the data. It is inevitable that automation will replace certain jobs. As scary as the forecast sounds, I believe the future of engineering and innovation will thrive with the integration of new technologies to our advantage.

Computerization can help streamline routine procedures, but the ability to conduct research that matters, work collaboratively with others, and discover innovative technology and human-centered solutions is the real value that we, as Dartmouth engineers, will have on our ever-evolving world.

Congratulations Class of 2021. We did it. Even a pandemic can't stop us from achieving our goals and chasing our dreams. Now let's get out there, and change the world. Thank you.