Sparking a passion for engineering in China

Steven Zhou

The key to a happy life is having an occupation you enjoy and a hobby you love. So says Steven Zhou, a member of our company’s sales team in Shanghai who has made it his mission to spark a passion for science and technology among as many Chinese young people as he can.

Steven still remembers the day more than 20 years ago when his own interest in technology was piqued at his Shanghai school. He was 12.

"At that time, I thought high technology was a radio," he said. "They showed us a laptop computer. That laptop could do so much – it could calculate things and play video games. There was also a satellite phone. They told us, 'You can use this phone to talk to people who live in the United States.' The U.S. was a very far-away concept to me. I was impressed."

A die-hard DIYer

Steven credits the encounter with setting him on the path to both his career and his hobby.

In middle school, he began building remote-controlled model cars and won races by modifying their control circuits to run on lithium power instead of AA batteries. In high school, he learned physics concepts to build and balance model airplanes and tweaked electronic technologies to better control them. And he gained entry to one of China's top electrical engineering degree programs by winning first place in a national competition to design and build a functional device using a few basic components.

Even today, Steven maintains a laboratory in his apartment – equipped with a 3D printer and an oscilloscope – where he tinkers with model yachts, rockets, robots and drones. His wife has embraced his hobby, and he's exposing his young son to scientific principles in his workshop.