Engineering was an easy career choice for Lichuan Liu, Ph.D., an associate professor of electrical engineering in the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. For many women, that choice is not so easy; Liu would like to change that.
“We need to encourage girls from an early age to pursue STEM fields,” she said. “Engineering isn’t that friendly to female students. We need to work on that.”
Liu said her mother, father and sister all studied engineering, so the field seemed like a natural choice. After receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at China’s University of Electronic Science and Technology, she came to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has been teaching at NIU since 2007.
“I enjoy seeing the students that were in my classes graduate and pursue their engineering careers,” she said. “Students’ time here at NIU is very precious; you need to work hard but play even harder!”
When teaching, Liu likes to mix theoretical knowledge and real-life applications. She involves students through discussion, group work and interconnected learning, emphasizing the importance of connecting concepts to real-world problems.
“One of my favorite parts of my job is working with students and helping society through my research,” she said.
Her research interests include digital signal processing, active noise control, wireless communication and wireless sensor networks. She is developing new hearing impairment prevention and monitoring system for newborns in incubators, since their ears are so sensitive to noise.
“In the future, I hope to use my research to solve more real-life problems that affect the world,” she said.