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Where are They Now?

Starting with this issue of the Seiche, we’ll be profiling former graduate student researchers who were funded by Minnesota Sea Grant to see what impact that opportunity had on their life. If you are a former Minnesota Sea Grant graduate student and would like to be profiled, please let Marie Zhuikov, managing editor, know (218.726.7677 or mzhuikov@d.umn.edu).

Which Sea Grant researcher did you work with as a graduate student and what did you work on?

I was working with Dr. Ira Adelman at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Minnesota. I was working on the effects of thiamine deficiency on lake trout reproduction in the Great Lakes. Dr. George Spangler of the same department provided the intellectual impetus for the research.

What do you do now?

I am the Aquaculture Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Richard Ying Ji

Richard Ying Ji

How did your graduate work prepare you for your current job?

Perhaps even more important than the academic training I received was the critical thinking that prepared me for my current job. It was also during my graduate years at the University of Minnesota that I became heavily involved with the Chinese Student Democracy Movement. Being a student activist during those years, I was involved in nationwide grassroots campaigns as well as in lobbying the Congress for freedom and democracy in China. These subsequently prepared me to understand and to instill ideals of what the proper role for government should be.

Have you received any noteworthy awards in the last few years?

I received an Achievement Award during my tenure at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The most rewarding, however, is helping people with their aquaculture problems and trying to make our processes work better.

Why do you think Sea Grant is a worthwhile organization?

Because it tries to address real issues that impact people’ls lives and is forthright in communicating what it is doing.

When you were in college, did you ever think you’d be doing your current work?

No. I was planning on returning to China. I had the sense, now I know it was a false sense, that the future of China rested on my/our (whatever that “our” stood for) shoulders. But Tiananmen Square in 1989 changed all that. I felt strongly that if I stood for freedom, I should free myself first. So that is when I decided to take the easy way out and stayed.

What’s your dream job?

I like to work with people. I like to make changes through my work that positively impact people’s lives. That seems to give me a lot of satisfaction. Although government jobs come with many limitations and short-comings within a bureaucracy, working for government may come closest to fitting that bill. In that sense, this may be far from my dream job, but it may still be closest to my dream job.

By Sea Grant Staff
November 1999

Return to November 1999 Seiche

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