> Grad’s skill set creates job offer frenzy

Grad’s skill set creates job offer frenzy

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Cheryl Qian, 604.437.7112, cherylq@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca

October 9, 2009

Talk about being in demand. Shortly after finishing her PhD in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus, Zhenyu Cheryl Qian scored nine interviews for faculty positions at prestigious universities throughout the U.S.

After the first three interviews in Arizona, Maryland and Indiana, the 2009 SFU graduand canceled the next six. Not because she was three months’ pregnant and tired of traveling, but because almost immediately after her third interview at Purdue University’s main campus in Lafayette, Ind., she was offered a position. An impressive one at that: a tenure-tracked assistant professorship with Purdue’s School of Visual and Performing Arts where Qian is mainly tasked with developing a new graduate program.

“I was told during the interview that it was hard to find candidates who have both solid design skills and human-computer interaction education,” says Qian. The SFU graduate of both SIAT’s master’s and PhD programs earned her BA in architecture in her home country of China.

Qian is now keen to share her knowledge, despite challenges that might well crush the enthusiasm of others. Her new son Cailean will be a mere three months old when she starts her new position at Purdue. In accordance with U.S. visa regulations, she and her young family can’t enter the states until 10 days before her contract with the university begins.

Qian and her family will arrive in the U.S. on Christmas day to bare lodgings; their belongings will follow at the end of January. “I’ll start to work with an empty house and a crying baby,” she quips, with surprising humor.

-30- (electronic photo file available)


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