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Guan Wang is a doctoral student in applied developmental science in the School of Education. She is originally from northeastern China and received her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Peking University. Her master’s degree, from the University of Pennsylvania, is in interdisciplinary studies in human development. In addition to pursuing her doctoral degree, she is also working toward a Graduate Certificate in Business Fundamentals at Carolina.

Guan Wang

What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill when deciding on a program/place to study?
I chose UNC because I have always heard that UNC is a top public university with a lot to offer. It has provided me with a variety of learning and career opportunities both within and outside of my degree training. For example, in addition to taking courses in my content area, I am also taking courses on business and technology-related subjects out of my own interests. UNC also has a hub of top-tier researchers and professors in my field, where you could build so many research collaborations and receive mentorship. Besides, the nice weather and tranquil lifestyle at Chapel Hill also is a huge plus for me as I really like to do outdoor activities and enjoy the endless views of green here.

Tell us about your work.
My doctoral work focuses on examining the impact of prenatal and early childhood adverse effects on children’s physical and cognitive development. Right now, I am working on understanding how prenatal maternal stress would influence baby birthweight via alterations in her neuroendocrine or immune system functions and whether maternal race and the baby’s gender impact these processes. I hope my work could provide insights for social programs to improve birth outcomes for impoverished families.

What are some of your favorite places and things to do in your home country?
Talking about my favorite places, it must include my hometown, Daqing, in northeastern China. It is geographically very close to eastern Russia and in winter, the temperature can drop to below -20F. You can say we literally live in the world of “Frozen” but wear much more than Elsa did. It is really fun to visit the Ice and Snow World in Harbin in winter, where almost everything is made of ice – from beer cups to giant castles. You could also enjoy really delicious BBQ and dumplings there. Just make sure to stay warm if you visit in winter!

What are you hoping to accomplish with your Carolina degree?
After years of academic training, I hope to be able to apply the analytical and technical skills that I’ve gained from my training to the business world and to witness real-world impact from my work. I would like to use my training as a researcher to conduct robust analyses of the business or organizational issues clients face, and use my presentation skills to communicate business solutions to people at different levels. I am excited about working as a consultant after graduation and look forward to embarking on this challenging yet tremendously rewarding career journey.

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