Connor Shu

Connor Shu


Portland, OR


Degrees Pursuing

Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics

Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science

Master of Science in Engineering in Systems Engineering


Research Interests

As a member of the Vojvodic Lab here at Penn, I am currently researching how we can apply deep learning, particularly a deep convolutional neural network, to predict the catalytic ability of a material based on the density of states of active site atoms. Previously, I have done research on information theory-based classifications of crystallographic symmetry as part of the Nano-Crystallography Group at Portland State University.


What experiences led you to become interested in VIPER and energy research?

Growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I spent much of my youth immersed in nature. With grand waterfalls an hour east of the city and the most scenic stretch of the Pacific coast an hour to the west, hiking was a common weekend fixture in the Shu household. However, as I learned about the abstract science behind climate change in my classes, I quickly saw the real-world, disastrous impacts that it was having on the landscapes that I love so much. In particular, there was one lake that my family would stop by every year on our way to central Oregon. It was always a tranquil shade of green that heralded a much-needed respite from the long car ride. One year, we were greeted by barren, cracked earth. As it turned out, the area had been struck by its worst drought in decades. Because of my love for nature and my passion for science and engineering, I instantly knew that VIPER was the program for me the moment I found out about it.


What are you looking forward to the most at Penn and in VIPER?

I'm looking forward to meeting a diverse group of people, all working tirelessly to realize their own unique dreams in their own unique ways. I absolutely cannot wait to learn from and discover new things with everyone


How do you see VIPER integrating into your future goals?

VIPER's dual degrees allow me to pursue both my curiosity for the theoretical and my drive to effect change on the world. The fundamental knowledge and understanding I gain through my training in pure science allows me to better utilize the tools that engineering provides me with. Even more so than the dual degrees, the energy research pillar of VIPER prepares me for my goal of revolutionizing the energy sector through innovation. Working on cutting edge research from the very beginning of my undergraduate studies has allowed me to become intimately familiar with the process of blazing paths into the unknown.


What is a fun fact or interesting experience you would like to tell others about?

During my first in-person recitation, my TAs' chalk usage made me want to go deaf. I thought I hated chalk after that until I had to draw something on the board for them, and I realized it was just user error :P

Graduation Year