A group of SFU-Zhejiang University Dual Degree Program students at the spring 2019 convocation. From left to right at back: DDP alumni Ruijia Mao and Xuefan Le with graduates Dujian Ding, Jiacheng Chen, Zhizhou Jiang, David Na; At front: Chen Song, recipient of the Dean's Convocation Medal and fellow graduate Chong Guo, with current DDP student Changan Chen.

Dual-degree program links graduands to top jobs and experiences for a globally connected future

June 12, 2019

“Opportunities are getting bigger but the world is getting smaller,” says David Na, who graduates this month with not one, but two bachelor’s degrees. “We need to be prepared.”

Na will have all the preparation he needs as he embarks on a career in software development at the Vancouver offices of global enterprise planning firm, SAP. As he graduates this June, Na joins over 250 alumni from the SFU-Zhejiang University dual degree program (DDP) in computing science.

David Na, a Canadian student that participated in DDP.

Through the program, students are bestowed with both a bachelor of science in computing science from SFU and a bachelor of engineering from Zhejiang University (ZJU) in China. The program also offers studies at the masters and doctoral level.

Students who participate in the program study for two years at SFU and two years at ZJU, in the city of Hangzhou, south of Shanghai in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, China. It’s a unique experience that exposes students from both countries to the best that the other has to offer.

The program fosters top talent, with many students in this year’s graduating class receiving honours with distinction, including four who achieved first-class honours in recognition of their grade-point averages above 4.0 out of 4.33.

For Na, who is Canadian, the program was an exciting opportunity to learn from and work with inspiring minds from different regions around the globe.

“The experience gave me more confidence and the ability to adapt because I was required to learn new things on a daily basis,” he says.

Chen Song, recipient of the Dean's Convocation Medal.

Chen Song, a DDP graduand hailing from China, says the program offered a unique opportunity to gain a competitive edge among his peers.

“My time at SFU exposed me to various opportunities in industry and I was able to explore different possibilities for myself,” he says.

Having completed a co-operative education internship (co-op) at a software company, as well as numerous research collaborations with SFU professors, Song has accepted an offer of admission to fast-track into his doctoral studies at University of Texas at Austin this fall. He graduates with an impressive 4.21 grade point average — out of a possible 4.33 — earning him the Dean’s Convocation Medal in recognition of his achievements.

 “The experiences I had at SFU contributed to me getting admitted to UT Austin, and helped prepare me for my future,” says Song.

Chong Guo, DDP graduate.

Co-op was also an integral part of the SFU experience for fellow Chinese student, Chong Guo. Guo completed almost two years in total of co-op internships which led to him receiving competitive job offers from Microsoft, Google and Amazon; he has accepted a role with Google, at an office in Germany.

“DDP helped me so much in both my studies and work,” says Guo. “It gave me a great platform for my skills as well as an opportunity to network with past and present students at top companies that helped me when I applied to my co-ops, and eventually to get my dream job at Google!”

Jingmin Zhu, who has received Canadian permanent residency and will work at Amazon in Vancouver.

Jingmin Zhu, also from China, came to Canada thinking the cities would resemble the ones she’d seen in Hollywood movies.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, because Canada is so multicultural, it’s also very welcoming and I was able to adjust easily to the new country,” says Zhu. She completed co-op internships with three local companies and fell in love with the cuisine and active lifestyle in Vancouver.

“Through SFU’s co-op program, I improved my communication skills and learned how to work with people from other cultures,” she says.

Zhu recently applied to, and received, Canadian permanent residency. She was hired as a software development engineer at Amazon’s Vancouver office this spring.

Chauncey Chengxian Liu, who will join Zhu at Amazon.

Joining Zhu at Amazon’s Vancouver office is Chauncey Chengxian Liu, a fellow Chinese student. Liu completed 16 months of co-op at the local offices of Simba Technologies and SAP and also contributed to computer graphics and multimedia research in the School of Computing Science. He hopes to apply to a master’s degree in computing science once he has acquired a few years of experience in industry.

“My peers in DDP, as well as alumni of the program, gave me a great network of support,” says Liu. “I would not have these friendships and connections had I not joined this degree program.”

Graduates of the program have taken up jobs at organizations such as Microsoft, Facebook and Alibaba, or further studies at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale universities.

Na perhaps best summarizes the experience of his cohort, saying, “With the experience and opportunities we’ve had, any of us could have the freedom and competitiveness to work anywhere in Asia or North America in the future; the SFU-Zhejiang University dual degree program gave that to us.”

DDP graduates celebrate their success. From left to right: David Na; Jerry Chen; Chen Song; Qing Wang; Jiacheng Chen; current DDP student Changan Chen; graduate DDP PhD recipient Minlong Lu (supervised by Ze-Nian Li); Chong Guo; professor and former inaugural DDP director, Ze-Nian Li; Zhizhou Jiang; Dujian Ding; Jingmin Zhu.

The following graduands from DDP are receiving their degrees in the highest standing at the spring 2019 convocation.

Bachelor of Science in Computing Science, first class with distinction*

-          Chen Song, recipient of the Dean’s convocation medal
-          Jiacheng Chen
-          Jingmin Zhu
-          Qi Wu

Bachelor of Science in Computing Science, with distinction**

-          Chauncey Chengxian Liu
-          Chong Guo
-          David Na
-          Dujian Ding
-          Qing Wang
-          Xi Yang

*The student has achieved a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 or greater for all courses and all upper division courses

**The student has achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or greater for all courses and all upper division courses