1/5/2017 4:11:03 PM Julia Sullivan, ECE ILLINOIS

ECE ILLINOIS alums are some of the most interesting people we know. To celebrate them, we’ve decided to ask them questions both serious and fun. Here, you’ll find their Ten Answers.

Ellen Wu graduated from ECE ILLINOIS in 2014, and has since worked for Goldman Sachs and IXL Learning, an innovative educational technology company. She came back to Illinois in 2016 to pursue her masters in Computer Science.

What's one of your favorite quotes?

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” - Lao Tzu

Where is some place in the world you would like to visit?

I would like to visit Iceland someday. I want to see the glaciers, geysers, aurora as well as its unique architectures.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay open minded and be curious. When I was a kid, I never watched soccer games or read newspapers because I thought they were boring. My mom told me that I should never exclude things that I haven’t tried. Then she started watching sports channel with me and asked me to describe at least 5 pieces of news to her every day. After a few weeks, I gradually changed my attitude. Since then, I’ve kept her words in mind, and it gives me much more perspective when tackling problems and exploring the world.  

What makes you feel energized?

I feel mentally energized after I read a wise book or talk to a wise person. And I feel physically energized when I exercise or listen to encouraging music.

What’s your personal philosophy?

Follow your heart and focus on doing things that you are passionate about. Do not be distracted or depressed when bad things happen as everything happens for a good reason.

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made?

When I was 15, I told my parents that I wanted to go abroad for college. They then contacted an international high school in Shanghai, which offered an one-month summer camp to help us decide whether we really wanted to enroll into the school. That was my first time leaving home and living in a different city by myself while using English to communicate with other people. It was really hard for me, and I felt helpless hundreds of times during that one month. And my best friend in that camp decided not to attend the school. However, I still made the decision to stay even though I struggled for quite a long time. Now I’m very glad that I made that decision to stay.

Where was your favorite place to study on the Illinois campus?

My favorite place was Grainger in the first two years of college. In my junior and senior years, I used to like studying in the northwest corner room on the first floor of Illini Union. 

Do you have a secret talent, and if so, what is it?

I can find most acupuncture points and meridians (Chinese medicine terms) on a person.

What time of day are you most productive?

I am most productive in the morning, but under the condition that I have enough sleep. For days before deadlines, I can be productive all day. 

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you spend it?

I will use it to read books or grab coffee with my friends to share updates and thoughts. I love the feeling when my brain gets invaded by new knowledge and ideas.