There’s one last thing Zijie Liu needs to do before her final day at Winona State University:


The only thing I want to do before I graduate is to go to the cafeteria and have one last omelet!


But there were a lot of people at WSU giving Liu a hand and supporting her through the transition.


The most difficult time was at the beginning. I was afraid of talking to people because my English was poor and not even to mention class discussions and presentations, which were disasters for me.


Liu came to WSU from the Hebei University of Technology to study Composite Materials Engineering. Liu first learned of WSU’s composites program when she was a sophomore at her last college studying Polymer Materials Engineering, a degree whose prerequisite courses were similar enough to allow for a smooth entry into the WSU’s program.

Through steadfast resolve and the support of professors and staff, Liu quickly became not only an outstanding student, but also a tutor aiding other students through their coursework.

During her time at WSU, Liu worked as a tutor for six Engineering courses over the last two years–even helping students adapt to distance learning through the pandemic. The position was the perfect opportunity for Liu to support her fellow classmates while also preparing herself for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, an exhaustive exam that all students must take prior to graduation from the composites program.


I am very happy that I am able to help students gradually adapt to online tutoring during this special time.


In addition to her work as a tutor, Liu worked as a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Beckry Abdel-Magid, conducting research on recycling technologies. Liu said that the position was a vital step in the development of her research skills, helping her prepare for her recent seminar presentation on lightning strike simulation on carbon nanotube composites. This research was presented and posted on the Ramaley Research Celebration website and will be featured in the Minnesota State Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

Liu will be continuing her education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she will be pursuing a Ph.D. conducting research in Additive Manufacturing, more popularly known as 3-D printing.

After achieving her Ph.D., Liu looks forward to working in the rapidly growing industry.

As the technology behind additive manufacturing continues to develop, Liu says:


I hope I can work to solve the blindspots that still exist in this processing method and break through its existing limitations.


Dylan Johnson ’21