Continuing our series of blogs spotlighting some of our inaugural Beedie Luminaries meet Daniel Lui. Daniel is starting his first year at SFU, taking a Mechatronic Systems Engineering program. Read more about his story in the Q&A story below.
What is your name?
What post-secondary school will you be attending?
Simon Fraser University, Surrey campus.
What program will you be taking in post-secondary and why does it interest you?
I will be taking the Mechatronic Systems Engineering program at SFU because it is a great way for me to continue expanding my horizons with robots and computers, as well as a perfect transition from high school, where I built robots for competitions.
Tell us a little bit about your background (growing up, going to school, extra-curricular activities, etc.).
Throughout high school, I was closely involved with the Robotics club. I worked with my team regularly to build competitive robots for the VEX Robotics Competition and Skills Canada. As my years in high school went by, I grew to become a mentor for younger students, especially about the programming aspect, as I was the lead programmer of the senior team at my school. Through Robotics, I have had the privilege to compete at numerous robotics tournaments at the regional and provincial levels, and meet many like-minded and passionate students, some whom I was pleasantly surprised to run into on the first day on campus.
Who inspires you, and why?
One would be hard-pressed to find someone who possesses such passion, spirit, and dedication to his work as Elon Musk. Known globally as the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, among others, he has driven human innovation and exploration to the limits — all for very noble visions; to make environmentally sustainable and affordable vehicles available for everyone (in Tesla’s case), and to provide accessible and practical travel to space and Mars (in SpaceX’s case). When reading about how he is frequently found sleeping under his desk and working 100 hours a week, I can think of no other person who is more fitting of the word “dedication.”
What motivates you, and why?
Our universe is infinitely vast and full of secrets waiting to be unlocked by the greatest minds of our kind. There are so many things that one can learn in a lifetime, and so many great possibilities that open up with the newfound knowledge. One thing that motivates me the most is learning new things. Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to pick up skills ranging from marksmanship to guitar; from babysitting to Taekwondo. In addition, I have explored new avenues in which I thought I would never have dabbled in, including adjudicating a debate tournament as a panelist. All these unique experiences enable me to not only understand, but also to contribute to my society and the world. Knowing that my studying in university will one day allow me to create innovative new robots, environmentally sustainable autonomous vehicles, and intelligent machines gives me energy to step foot on campus every day. I definitely don’t intend to stop learning new things any time soon.
What are your goals for the upcoming school year?
As a child, I saw SFU as the university that I wanted to attend after high school. Now that I am studying there, I also want to be part of the vibrant community. That’s why I have signed up for the SFU Rocketry Club, which will be sending their first satellite to space in 2021. I’m excited to learn all about rockets and satellite design from fellow club members. My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution to a club at SFU.
What is one thing you learned in high school that you will take with you to post-secondary?
To the surprise of nobody, as high school goes on, classes get tougher and tougher. By grade 12, it’s safe to say that the course load and homework is significantly more than just a few years ago. In the midst of all the sweat and tears while studying for those final exams, it can be hard not to be stressed. One thing that I picked up in grade 12 is guitar, and in retrospect that is single-handedly the best decision I made in high school. Guitar provided an easily-accessible passion for me. Just being able to stand up and move away from my 1:00 am cramming session to pick up my guitar and play some songs is indescribably relaxing and fulfilling. Guitar has allowed me to connect with new friends and be more sane during finals week. Finding this passion — something to escape to in times of stress — is what I learned to be tremendously important in grade 12, and is something that I will take with me to university.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to future Luminaries?
The world is full of diverse people with varying backgrounds. Sometimes, you may see a homeless man asking for donations; sometimes, you may meet the occasional quirky and awkward kid who doesn’t talk very much. But what do you know? Turns out the homeless man was once a decorated military veteran who fought to defend your freedom but unfortunately had trouble assimilating back into civilian society due to PTSD, and the awkward kid is a genius who will help you with your math homework one day so you can get that A grade. I encourage you to try to see the best in everyone and realize that everyone has their unique strengths. They just need to be found; found by you.Back To Top