"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin

I receive many emails from prospective students or postdocs who ask whether I am looking for new members to join my research group or whether I have financial support for new positions, including summer internships (most such requests come from India).

The answer is always YES!

However, I would not be able personally reply to every such request. I am implementing the following filtering mechanism:

  • If from your email, it is clear that you are "fishing", e.g., you are using a generic template with my name and research interests filled in, then you will clearly not receive a reply.
  • If you really impressed me with your accomplishments/potential or the fit in terms of matching interests or funding availability is really good, then I will write back personally to start a conversation.
  • Otherwise, you are in the category of "maybe, but you need to compete with others". I am sorry that I cannot make any promises on the spot. I encourage that you apply to SFU CS (see page on graduate admissions) since there may be other faculties who find you to be a better fit. As well, in 2013, SFU will have a new graphics faculty joining the school.
It may be helpful to give some hints in terms of what kind of students would interest me most and are more likely to succeed working with me. Aside from the usual qualifications such as demonstrated research ability (e.g., publications at good places), strong references, good GPA, etc., I look for the following attributes in particular:
  1. Relative independence and self-motivated: if you expect that I will always be the one chasing after you and motivate you, then you should not consider working with me. Why would you want to do grad school in the first place? I will guide you as much and as well as I can of course, but it would be much more gratifying to me if I am the one who keeps rejecting (and eventually accepting) your suggestions for problems or ideas, and not the other way around.
  2. Strong technical writing skills: it is not only about one's command of the English language; it is more about the ability to logically and succinctly articulate an idea, in any language!
  3. Attention to details: if your email is full of typos or grammar mistakes, then that is a bad first impression; if you know my wife's birthday, then it shows that you really paid attention :)
  4. A strong appreciation for aesthetics and elegance: you have the drive to produce ideas, a piece of writing, or even just a figure, that is beautiful.
  5. Active life style and sports enthusiast: if you can beat me in singles badminton play, then you get a high score! :)