Dong Ping Zhang (MSc Computing 2006, PhD 2010)

Dong Ping is senior quantum architect at PsiQuantum and co-founder of Learnpool. She is also President of the Imperial College Alumni Association of Northern California.

How did you reconnect with Imperial?

I was born in a small village in China and I feel I turned a corner when I went to Imperial - it's where I truly grew up. I didn't just learn about specific technology subjects, I acquired a whole new way of thinking, to be creative in problem-solving and use my ingenuity. A few years after I left, I became interested in making connections with other alumni who had naturally similar ways of thinking. I met a wonderful couple, David (Mining 1961) and Mary Goodman (Aeronautics 1961), who had been running the alumni association here in northern California for decades but were now retired and ready to hand over. I just thought it was my time.

What do you get out of your volunteering?

Becoming President of the Imperial College Alumni Association of Northern California was a bit daunting at first. It is a lot of work but I feel very rewarded. I am constantly inspired by meeting all these awesome people who have a connection to Imperial and it can also be very useful to know what is going on in current research. The College alerts me if a member of the teaching staff is coming here who might be able to give a talk, so we hear from experts in many different fields. We also have social events, such as potluck dinners and English afternoon tea. I hosted the most recent at my house so it helps that my partner Lee Howes (MEng Computing 2005, PhD 2009) is also an alumnus.

What motivates you?

I'm driven by the desire to create a platform through which like-minded people can meet and mentor each other both personally and professionally. When I first moved to north California I really could have done with such a network, so am delighted to be able to create it with Imperial. And I get to meet people who have been in Silicone Valley since the 1970s! These opportunities are very enriching to my life.