Yue Cao hails from China, where he earned an MA in Journalism and Communication from Nanjing University in 2004. He has been studying at UAB for three years, and hopes to graduate with his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology in 2009.
Currently, Yue is working with Dr. Sean-Shong Hwang to study China’s Three Gorges Dam, the largest project of its kind in history. They are using panel data to examine the mental and physical impact of the project on the estimated 1.3 million persons being displaced.
Yue says he chose UAB based on the reputation of the Medical Sociology program here. “I learned about UAB six years ago in China through a book, Medical Sociology. It was the only one in this field translated into Chinese at that time. It is written by William C. Cockerham, a distinguished professor in the Department of Sociology at UAB.”
When asked about his experiences at UAB, Yue says he finds the interdisciplinary environment most rewarding. “I took classes in the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, and gerontology, which are all beneficial to my research. I can gain access to many useful resources through the cooperation between these disciplines.”
Several different professors have influenced him at UAB, especially his advisor, Dr. Hwang. “He not only spends a lot of time and effort to provide me with invaluable knowledge and research skills, but also helps me develop as a scholar, encouraging me to try my best to make everything as perfect as possible in the research. Meanwhile, I am fortunate to study in the Sociology department, where I receive a lot of help and inspiration through interaction with knowledgeable professors and intelligent graduate students and where interdisciplinary research and cooperation are encouraged.”
Yue says he is motivated to work hard and conduct research by a “sense of mission and aspiration for knowledge.” Asked if he has any advice/wisdom for other graduate students, he answers: “Try to learn as much as possible through the different disciplines. Some knowledge may not seem useful currently, but you will find it is very helpful sooner or later.”
Upon graduation, Yue plans to dedicate himself to academia, specifically research and teaching. “I also want to use my skills and knowledge to diminish systemic health gaps through identifying their structural underpinnings.”