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Josh Qian | Student

Josh Qian

Be a positive presence

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Expected Graduation: April 2015

Research Interests: Solar/alternative energy

Be a positive presence

Josh is nervous when he first sits down. He’s a writer for the Michigan Daily – their science and engineering research reporter – and he’s used to interviewing others for his articles. Now that the tables are turned, he chooses every word carefully.

Very much a people person, Josh bucks the image of the introverted engineer. Although it’s common for a student in any field to list their proudest accomplishment as the day they completed a huge project or passed a hard class, Josh’s experience is different.

A residential advisor with University Housing, he remembers the first night a student came to talk to him about a problem she was having, which happened to be related to race. As his first case, he was unsure of what to say, what would help the most.

“It was one in the morning,” he recalls, “and I thought she just wanted food. But then she sat down with me. She said ‘I want to talk about a few things’; she wanted to talk about her experience as an African American on campus. And I didn’t know what to say, but I just figured you have to listen.”

So he did, and that’s exactly what his resident needed. “It felt really nice that someone trusted me to come to me about stuff like that.”

That experience highlighted issues of diversity for Josh, and the opportunities and challenges it provides. Since then, Josh has become passionate about the opportunities for global diversity that U-M offers, and has completed internships and studies abroad in Canada, China and Japan. Learning in a diverse environment, he attests, prepares students to work in any situation, something that they don’t necessarily realize is valuable until they find work opportunities in a field that is rapidly becoming more and more international.

"It felt really nice that someone trusted me to come to me about stuff like that."
Josh Qian

As for his own post-graduation plans, Josh immediately and enthusiastically states that he hopes to start his own firm and teach after retirement, before backtracking to more immediate goals like working for a multinational corporation

Even that, though, is a little too far in the future. Josh’s immediate plan is only to be a positive presence in everyday interactions. “Be intentional about everything you do. Your every action could effect someone’s day, just saying ‘hi’ or smiling. That’s what really matters.”

Extracurricular Activities

  • U-M Alternative Spring Break
  • Resident Advisor/Community Assistant
  • Global Scholars Program
  • Staff News Reporter, The Michigan Daily

Honors and Awards

  • College of Engineering Dean's Honor List