Enthusiasm fuels busy Malaysian student at WMC Summer internship at Marada a help

September 13, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Sin Yee Wu was thankful for a moment to sit down in an air-conditioned room on the sticky-hot day that signaled the beginning of orientation at Western Maryland College.

But even as he relaxed in the lounge of the campus' Hoover Library, he seemed conscious that he should be doing something or going somewhere.

That's the way his life is.

"I'm very enthusiastic about everything I do," said Mr. Wu, 23, a math and physics major who is entering his senior year. "That's the best thing you can do to produce a good result."

Good results are the only kind Mr. Wu has produced since he arrived here three years ago from his native Malaysia. During his college career, he has maintained good grades while working as a resident assistant, singing in the college choir, mentoring younger students and working in the campus library.

His most recent accomplishment was a successful summer internship with the auto-parts company, Marada Industries, a position he sought for experience without looking for compensation.

"I wanted to acquire some manufacturing experience, and Marada was what was the closest," said Mr. Wu, who does not own a car. "I was supposed to work there just for experience, tTC and they wanted to pay, so I figured I'd take it."

Mr. Wu worked with value engineering and value analysis, a procedure Marada uses to reduce the costs of the company's products while increasing effectiveness and value to the customer.

After two months of work, the terminology had become old hat to him.

"I helped with the plant layout and used a computer system to sketch plant layout," Mr. Wu said. "I was learning on the job, and my supervisor was very willing to teach me."

In his homeland, people were willing to teach him only what a cumulative exam said he was capable of learning. He chose to take courses in math and science to prepare him for the major exam that would determine his career if he stayed in Malaysia.

"Usually, people back home choose what they want to do and go to school to study that," Mr. Wu said, describing his early education. "My mind was set to go into a technical field at least. Then we have to take these tests to see if we are able to go on

and study in that field."

The competition was fierce, Mr. Wu said. One two-hour test at the end of what would be the equivalent to the 11th grade in the United States was a cumulative test.

Two years later, students were expected to take another test that would determine whether they could go on to advanced study.

"I need to do well on that test," Mr. Wu explained. "I mean, it was the equivalent of four or five A's just to go to engineering school. And it was a very tough exam. I didn't do very well. "

But he said he was not discouraged.

"I decided to come here. It's easier, because you don't have to cram two years worth of information into one test," Mr. Wu said. "I also like the freedom to choose a major here.

"Back home, we were only geared toward a certain field. But here, you can take courses in things outside you main field. You not only learn about your field, but other things to make you an all-around person."

Mr. Wu said his optimistic outlook and willingness to meet challenges have helped him adapt both at home and in the United States. And, he has words of wisdom for freshmen who are beginning their college odyssey as he ends his own.

"I'd tell them the first week will be the toughest. Just hang in there. Just get to know people," Mr. Wu said, adding that some of his best friendships have been made on the Western `f Maryland campus. "And, get involved with the school and everything this area has to offer. It will prove invaluable to you later."

As Mr. Wu continues his studies so he can specialize in working with semiconductors, integrated circuits and chips after graduation, he said he will still participate in his extracurricular activities.

"Each person has a way of taking life. This is mine," he said, rising from the comfortable chair to undertake his next venture. "Since it has worked for me, I think I will stick with it."

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