Nicholas Yiu

Nicholas Yiu

Nano-MSE student from August 2015 – December 2016


What was your most recently earned academic degree before you entered the Nano program and in what field?

Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering

At what institution did you earn your most recently earned academic degree before you entered the Nano program and where is this institution?

University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA

What are you doing now?

Working as a Process Engineer at Heliotrope Technologies, a startup based in San Francisco developing electrochromic smart glass for automobiles and building applications.

How did the Nano-MSE program help you advance your professional or academic goals?

The program allowed me to explore a very broad range of different fields in more depth than my undergrad program. It also allowed me to better understand materials and nanotechnology whilst my undergraduate degree was more fundamental. My undergrad was focused on chemical engineering, and Penn gave me a very comprehensive understanding on the materials side.

My favorite part was being able to specialize in technology commercialization, which enabled me to understand the science on a much larger scale on the road to the market. I truly enjoyed the engineering entrepreneurship coursework, where I strengthened my teamwork and public speaking skills in a way that would be much more difficult outside the program.

What do/did you enjoy most about the Nano-MSE program and/or being at University of Pennsylvania?

At Penn, I loved the high caliber of science combined with the proximity and close interaction with Wharton, which allows a very comprehensive understanding of science, commercialization, and business strategies. It allowed me to participate in multiple business competitions and win awards for things outside of nanotechnology as well.

The combination of freedom of classes as well as a vast choice of extracurricular activities can help accelerate academic and professional growth. I was an active member in many groups on campus, which allowed me to grow outside the classroom.

On the side, I started a music technology non-profit called Mixathon48 which won the Wharton Innovation Fund award, which I have continued working on since. It truly is amazing to be able to have Penn catalyze my pursuit of multiple interests in such a supportive environment.

Do you have advice for people considering the Nano-MSE program at Penn?

Have a very clear understanding of what you want to achieve in your career, and you can tailor your Penn degree program to optimize your learnings for yourself. Take part and make use of the many resources around you – Penn is truly overflowing with opportunity for science, commercialization, and innovation.