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Appleee

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  1. Hello folks, If you are going to apply for UC Davis Mechanical and Aerospace (MAE) department and you are considering to be Professor Seongkyu Lee's student, then this thread is for you. I am his former student, and I just want to give you'll a warning before you make that move. Below are something that you need to know: 1. When you join his lab, you need to sign "lab rules". Just to highlight a few rules: "It is not a 9-5 time job. It is expected that students often need to work at night or weekend. Students who can't meet this time commitment may not stay in the lab or will be asked by me to leave the lab"; "My role is your professor, your academic advisor, your boss, and your academic father, but not your friend". 2. As you can tell from his lab rules, he pushes his students very hard and he wants his students to work for him as much as possible. He does not care how is your class going, if you have any personal issues, if you have any approaching exams, etc. The only thing that he cares about is your research results. I felt like I was just his research tool when I was in his lab. 3. He may not let you graduate on purpose. He used to tell me "graduate in 7 years is not too bad for you". Not only me, another student has similar experience. 4. He may ask you to let him be the first author of the paper even if you did all the detailed work, wrote the code, and wrote up the paper. This is exactly what happened to me. Although the research ideas come from him, I did all the detailed work, wrote the code, and wrote up two papers. However, he asked me to give him the first author of both papers. 5. He wants you to perform research in the way he wants, he micromanages students, and students can not freely express their ideas. Here is a direct quote from him: "If you want to work with me, do not argue with me even if you believe you are right and I am wrong. Don’t try to prove that you are right. This is very important." 6. Because of 4, he may threaten you if you do not do what he wants. I used to have an issue with him, finally he threatened me by saying "I will not help you in your career anymore, you will have no fellowships, no internships, and no letters of recommendation from me". After he said that to me, I left his lab afterwards. 7. He does not have much funding. Most of his students do not have a funded project and they simply work on his ideas. However, his idea is subject to changes, which means your project might be changed frequently. It is possible that you may switch your project once or twice and get nothing done. 8. He does not like collaborations and he is afraid that others will share his credit. 9. When you learn something new, you will be asked to make tutorials and teach other students, which are very very time-consuming. The thing is, even though you help another student a lot in their research, your name will not be included in the paper because he does not want to include your name. The purpose of this thread is not saying that I am a perfect student (I am sure I could have done many things better as well) and he is a really bad professor, he certainly has some strengths. Instead, I just want to share my experience and hope it will be useful to some of future applicants. I tried to list the truths without bringing my subjective opinions into them. Therefore, you can make a fair judgement by yourself and reconsider your decision if you want to work with him. Hope it helps.
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