Tong Ren

Current Position: PhD Student at Duke University
Tong Ren
Highlight Engineering is a universal language. No matter what country you are from, no matter what language you speak, engineers from all around the world can communicate with each other through mathematical symbols - because the discipline is based on hard science rather than diverse human cultures. This means engineers usually work with talented people from across the world. Engineering without Borders ( is a great example of how engineers can change people’s lives.
August 19, 2007Her job: PhD Student, Duke University
Why did you choose engineering? I chose engineering because my father is a professor in electrical engineering. In fact, he chose the major for me when I went to college and it turned out to fit my skills and passion perfectly.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and a Master’s degree from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, both in Electrical Engineering. I am currently studying towards a Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University.
What do you like best about being an engineer? Being an engineer allows me to understand how things work and then apply my knowledge to real life applications. I can design devices, code programs, make things work, and eventually change the world we live in.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? Always seek out resources and ask questions before you make a career decision. Engineering can be extremely rewarding and fun for those who like hard science, who are always curious about the physical world, and who love to make (or break) things. Find your passion and stick to it.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. Outside work, I like web design, dance, travel, and mountain climbing. I feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the hard science aspect through my work, and at the same time, enjoy the humanity side of life through my leisure time. The two aspects compliment each other and together fulfill both my intellectual and physical needs.