Mark was born a month before his father left China to pursue a PhD in the United States. His mother's family raised him until his parents could afford to have him come to the United States in 1989. Mark's interest in computer science emerged over the eight years he served as a marine officer and helicopter pilot. Applying his software development hobby to his work, Mark was able to help pilots fly more safely by creating and integrating preflight planning and navigational software. In the fall, Mark will begin work toward a master’s degree in computer science, with a focus on systems and machine learning.
The sense of civic responsibility that led Mark to serve in the United States military was born out of his father’s experience during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Mark’s father spent a decade laboring on a commune farm before he was able to attend college under Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms. Despite the setback, Mark’s father earned a fellowship from Columbia University that allowed Mark’s parents to immigrate to the United States.
Math was Mark’s primary focus before joining the Marine Corps. He excelled in math competitions in high school, coached the NYC Math Team, and finished the majority of Columbia University’s graduate math coursework as an undergraduate.
Using his master’s degree, Mark plans to create innovative software tools that advance human abilities.