Looking back on his days at the University of Florida, Dr. Min-Wen Wang recalls many good memories of the campus, his professors, fishing in Cedar Key, tubing at Ichetucknee Springs and visiting Disney World.
Wang was born and raised in Tamsui, a town in suburban Taipei, Taiwan. He grew up in a large family and was expected to help out around the house – leaving little time to study or play until he got to college.
“Though it was a little bit tough during my childhood, I enjoyed it and had great memories with my brothers and sisters,” Wang said.
After serving in the Chung-San Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) for four years in the jet propulsion lab, Wang decided to come to the United States to pursue a master’s degree. One of his friends had come to the University of Florida a year earlier and recommended the university to Wang.
Wang applied to UF’s mechanical engineering department and began his studies in May 1989.
“I had little information about UF until I arrived in Gainesville,” Wang said.
Attending school in the United States was significant for Wang because he said the U.S. is a big cultural melting pot and UF allowed him to receive and learn the latest knowledge and technologies.
“The two years of master program really let me open my eyes to the new world,” Wang said. “UF is great both in academics and sports. I enjoyed the two years I spent for my master’s degree in Gainesville, the two years experience convinced me to study for my PhD at UF.
During his time here, Wang enjoyed the many aspects of student life. However, his favorite memory of all is his introduction to Gator football.
“On one of the Saturdays in September 1989, I was shocked that there were so many people dressed in orange and blue,” Wang said. “Then I found out there was a football game that day.”
Wang began watching football games with other students from his home country of Taiwan and learned the sport.
“Since then, I follow our football and basketball programs,” Wang said. “I check Gator sports every morning when I turn on my computer.”
His love for UF did not end with football, though. Just before his master’s degree oral defense, Wang talked to one of his professors about staying at UF and pursuing a Ph.D.
“He (Prof. John Schueller) suggested that I go to a better university, and he would write a recommendation letter for me,” Wang said. “But I asked him to let me continue working for him through my Ph.D. program.”
Wang became Schueller’s first Ph.D. student, which he believes was quite an honor.
Armed with a Ph.D, Wang had the opportunity to work for the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the largest and best industrial technology research institute in Taiwan.
Under Schueller, Wang received guidance and the opportunity to integrate different technologies in solving problems. They integrated hydraulics, optimal control, optimal design, GIS and GPS in Wang’s thesis study.
“Cross-disciplinary learning under Professor Schueller has helped me a lot in cooperating with clients from industry and getting projects from the government,” Wang said.
In 1994, Wang returned to Taiwan, where he joined ITRI. After working on the development of an advanced injection-molding machine for seven years, he began his teaching career with Leader University as an associate professor.
A year later, Wang went to the mechanical engineering department of the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences (KUAS) as an associate professor, later becoming a professor in 2010.
“I really like to work at KUAS,” Wang said. “It is an excellent university in Taiwan. My plan was to be a college professor when I decided to study for my Ph.D. and KUAS gave me the chance to fulfill my dream, so I can share what I know to the students and do the research topics I’m interested in.”
At KUAS, Wang is working on polymer micro-fabrication, where he uses micro-molding, roll-to-roll processing, inkjet printing, and imprinting to make micro parts like dental implants, micro needles, lenses, prism film and light-guide film in his lab.
“Along with my research, I have more than 20 worldwide patents,” Wang said.
In 2014, Wang was voted by his colleagues as one of the best teachers at KUAS.
“I like to teach and enjoy discussing with my students,” Wang said. “Students are like my friends so I am excited to go to work every morning, just like visiting friends.”