Student Spotlight: Yue Deng

Yue Deng

February 21, 2022

Yue Deng is a doctoral student in materials science and engineering from Nanjing, China. After attending UC Davis as an undergraduate, she chose to pursue further study at Cornell due to its faculty, facilities, and location on the east coast. Yue Deng is a recipient of a 2022 Wu Scholarship.

What is your area of research and why is it important?

I am studying both lithium batteries and its most promising substitute, sodium batteries. My work mainly focuses on the electrochemical deposition of active metals like lithium and sodium, which improves both the capacity as well as the lifespan of rechargeable batteries. This is also meaningful to lithium/sodium extraction and purification, which are very important for preparing battery-grade ingredients for mass production in a greener and more cost-effective way. 

What are the larger implications of this research and what is its impact?

I study rechargeable batteries–to be specific, lithium and sodium batteries. We are currently in the age of energy, where so many devices and vitally important equipment are powered up by electricity. Rechargeable batteries enable the development and revolution of portable devices–for example, smart phones and electric vehicles. In addition, as awareness of climate change and environmental protection increases, the entire world is moving toward greener energy resources. Batteries are one of the most promising solutions for large scale energy storage systems to help stabilize the intermittent output of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power. 

What does it mean to you to have received the Hsien and Daisy Yen Wu Scholarship?

I feel both encouraged and honored. I am an international student, who has come all the way to the other side of the world to study in a foreign country. It is a decision that required a lot of courage from both me and my parents. The entire study-abroad experience contains many challenges as well. Receiving the Hsien and Daisy Yen Wu Scholarship makes me feel that my time and effort spent in academics, research, and student organization activities have been seen and recognized. Going forward, I will continue serving the MSE graduate student body, Cornell, and beyond. 

What will this award allow you to do that you might not have been able to otherwise?

I have been saving up recently to purchase a new laptop with my limited graduate student stipend. I got my current one back in 2016, and it is so outdated now that it can barely handle my daily computational needs. This financial support provided by the Hsien and Daisy Yen Wu Scholarship allows me to upgrade to a more advanced model, which will greatly improve my work quality and efficiency. 

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your research or scholarship?

I love rock music. I once drove 10 hours one way to watch a live performance of my favorite band, L’arc~en~Ciel. I learned how to play the piano and guzheng (a traditional Chinese instrument). I also love movies, especially science fiction, and I even write my own sci-fi stories, too.    

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

I did my undergraduate study on the west coast, so I thought it would be interesting to go to a school on the east coast. Of course, Cornell also has one of the top materials science graduate programs nationwide with professors that I am very interested to work with. The shared facilities on campus, including the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), the Cornell Energy Systems Institute (CESI)  and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), experimentally enable the study of many great research ideas. They are one of the big motivations for us who are studying materials science to come to Cornell.