Tell us more about your background (where did you grow up, where did you pursue your studies, why did you choose to come and teach in Lebanon?)
Thank you so much for interviewing me! I was born and raised in China. I earned a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and a Master in Health Physics from the China Institute for Radiation Protection. I earned a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from New Mexico Tech in the United States. Lebanon is a beautiful country and the weather is fantastic, so I choose to teach here.
Of all subjects, what attracted you to study Petroleum Engineering?
God made the arrangement for me. I got a TOEFL score of 650 out of 677. I was accepted by many universities in the U.S., but no university offered me financial aid, so I could not go. Several years later, in 1997, I met an American who was teaching English in China. We became friends and he introduced me to one of his friends who was a professor and researcher in petroleum engineering at New Mexico Tech. They both attended the same church and the professor was the bishop. After reviewing my transcripts and score reports (TOEFL and GRE), his friend decided to accept me and offer me financial aid. That’s how I traveled to the U.S. in 1998 to pursue my Ph.D. God made it happen. Praise God! God is absolutely awesome!
Your current course material is quite challenging. How are you able to impart to students complex concepts and make them more understandable?
I use real-life examples to explain complex concepts. For example, when I teach porosity, I may use a sponge to explain it. There are empty spaces in the sponge. Those empty spaces are called pores. Inside a rock, there are also pores. The total volume of pores divided by the total volume of the rock is porosity.
Are you enjoying your stay in Lebanon so far?
Definitely! I love Lebanon. Beautiful country, nice weather, and great people! Since I arrived here on January 9, I have written 14 poems in Chinese. I have an English version of one of those poems:
Lebanon by Dacun Li
"Mountain, ocean, and rising sun
A neighboring country is torn
If asked where is awesome
A doctor deeply loves Lebanon."
We all have hidden talents. What are some of yours?
I like singing, dancing, calligraphy, photography, traveling, and jogging. I sang four songs at the Annual NDU Karaoke Event held on March 13 and 14, 2018. The audience liked my singing very much. You are welcome to enjoy one of the performances at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSqXLa7kJK4
. I am very sociable, have great leadership potential, and a great sense of humor. Seven years ago, I was inducted to “Who’s Who in America 2011.” In June 2017, I won the “Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.” The award is an honor reserved for biographies who have demonstrated leadership, excellence, and longevity within their respective industries and professions. Also in June 2017, I was selected as an Overseas Committee Member, Entrepreneur Alliance of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. Here is one of my calligraphy works.
If you could take your students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
I would like to take my students to see the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest oil field in the world and it is producing 5 million barrels of oil per day. The trip will bring the students’ interest in petroleum engineering to a new high.
What words of wisdom would you share with your students to ensure they mature to live a successful and peaceful life?
No pain, no gain. The first of the four songs I sang at the 2018 Annual NDU Karaoke Event was about this wisdom.
Thank you very much!