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Palais Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Spring 2020

Junjie Jiang

A standout researcher who excelled in the classroom, Junjie Jiang is this year’s Palais Outstanding Doctoral Student awardee.

Junjie Jiang grew up in Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China, a relatively small city, with a proximity to the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone. The dense network of waterways and canals nearby sparked a young Jiang’s interest in complex systems.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in theoretical physics from Lanzhou University, Jiang came to ASU as a short-term visiting scholar to research nonlinear time series analysis. Under the mentorship of Professor Ying-Chang Lai, this brief venture turned into a career-defining passion for complex dynamical systems. Knowing he wanted to continue his research at ASU with Lai, Jiang applied and was accepted to the master’s degree program and later to the doctoral degree program in electrical engineering. 

As a theoretical researcher, Jiang concentrated his studies on one of the most complex dynamical systems on Earth — the ecosystem.

“The ecosystem is currently facing its greatest challenges and crises due to human activities such as global climate changes and pollution,” says Jiang.

Jiang’s research aims to solve two of the biggest questions evolving from this complex nonlinear dynamical system: When will our ecosystem reach a point of no return and how can we prevent its total collapse?

In looking to answer these questions, Jiang became an influential researcher in his field, publishing 10 articles, papers and peer-reviewed journals. Two of the 10 were published in separate prominent journals with impact factors of around 10, a measurement indicating the frequency an article in a journal has been cited in a year. 

Combining his stellar research and his standout classroom performance, Jiang is this year’s recipient of the Palais Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. 

Professor Joseph Palais, a longtime electrical engineering graduate program chair and his wife Sandra, established the Palais Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. The award is presented annually to the best graduating doctoral student in the electrical engineering program. Candidates must have a minimum 3.75 GPA and at least one journal or conference publication. Faculty members nominate students within the program each year.

“I am deeply honored and pleased to have received this prestigious award. I truly appreciate the whole research community’s recognition of my work,” says Jiang. “I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Joseph Palais and his wife, Sandra Palais, who established this award.”

As Jiang focuses on the future, he hopes to conquer another of the most complicated systems in our universe — the brain. He will further his career in computational neuroscience research. 

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2020 class here.

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