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Feng Chen ('12)

Alumnus Feng Chen

Feng Chen
Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas
Class of ’12

I have been working as an associate professor with tenure at the University of Texas at Dallas since fall 2019. Prior to this role, I worked as an assistant professor at the University at Albany - the State University of New York from spring 2014  to spring 2019. I also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in 2013.

At Virginia Tech, I was a member of the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics and received a doctoral degree from Virginia Tech in 2012.

I was lucky to meet my wife at Virginia Tech in 2012, who received her doctoral degree from Virginia Tech in 2014. We currently have a three-year-old son and enjoy taking our son to museums, zoos, local parks, and animal farms in Dallas.

How did the department equip you for the ‘real world’?

The department equipped me with the fundamental understanding and practical skills to conduct solid and innovative research in my research areas. The department also did an excellent job providing opportunities to the students and faculty members to collaborate in multidisciplinary research. I was able to work with faculty members and graduate students on projects in different areas, such as data science, transportation, cybersecurity, and political science. The experience in multidisciplinary research is beneficial for me in writing grant proposals for funding from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and National Institute for Health. The department alumni also provide me valuable practical tips and resources for career success. I received an internship opportunity in IBM T.J. Watson’s Research Center from an alumni recommendation. I also got to know many of my current collaborators through department alumni connections.

Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means...

I am proud to be a Virginia Tech alumnus. I have lived in several states, such as Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. I often see people wearing T-shirts with Virginia Tech logos or Hokie bumper stickers and feel that we are all one big community all around the country.

My fondest memory of my time in the department is...

My fondest memory was organizing sporting activities for the graduate students in the National Capital Region campus, such as badminton, baseball, tennis, and basketball.

 My favorite memory as a graduate assistant was…

My first time teaching a graduate class for an instructor and receiving positive feedback from the students.

It was important to me to build a grad student community because…

Graduate students often feel tremendous pressure from multiple perspectives, such as research, teaching, financial, and family pressures. They can get support from the student community to reduce the pressure and address other issues.