Xu Liu

Xu Liu

Xu Liu is currently a graduate researcher working in Prof. Robert Shepherd's group at Cornell University. Before joining Cornell, she graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She was recently named as a Local Pathways Fellow by the UN SDSN–Youth (2020-2021), was selected into the Clinton Global Initiative University by the Clinton Foundation (2020), was highlighted by SPARK - Energy Re-Imagined in London, UK (2020), was featured by BP plc as one of the eleven "Future Energy Leaders" selected from around the world (2019), and was selected into the inaugural cohort for the W.E. (Women Entrepreneurs) Cornell Program (2018). Besides, Xu was named a Commencement Banner Bearer for MSE at Cornell's May Commencement Ceremony (2020).


Qufu, China

Why Cornell?

I came to Cornell to pursue energy research. My professional background has been centered around "energy and power systems" during my past studies in China and Canada, which turns out to be a match for the interest of many faculties at Cornell.

Tell us about your research:

My research at ORL focuses on the flow battery design for applications in soft robots. This builds upon fundamental efforts in increasing the energy density of hydraulically powered robots by turning the inert hydraulic fluid into electrical energy storage via ZnI2 flow cell batteries.

Greatest challenge:

The greatest challenge was on how to scale up our existing prototype system, for potential applications in mobile robots and wearable power systems.

Favorite MSE class:

My favorite class was MSE 5330 by Prof. Richard Robinson. I learned more about the fundamental principles behind the materials and technologies related to energy production, storage, and conversion.

Any advice for prospective MSE students:

Dream big, and don't be constrained by your past background and existing stereotypes. As an engineer with an energy background, I never imagined the possibility of me working in a soft robotic laboratory, but this turned out to be a great surprise.

Extracurricular activities?

As a woman in STEM, I am interested in community outreach and social engagement. Recently, I was named a Local Pathways Fellow by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth (2020-2021). My focus was on how to advance the energy transition and create low carbon businesses for the local community.

What stands out most about your Cornell experience?

In addition to academic research, I believe Cornell provided me an ideal climate to develop my entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

In 2018, I participated in the National Science Foundation’s UNY I-Corps ‘Clean Energy’ Short Course and was selected into the inaugural cohort for the W.E. (Women Entrepreneurs) Cornell Program (22 at Cornell), which is a highly selective program to help STEM women commercialize their innovations at Cornell Engineering.

Recently, I was named as a Commencement Banner Bearer, which was selected by the Director of Graduate Studies and approved by the Graduate School to recognize extraordinary Master's graduates for their hard work and achievement at the Commencement Ceremony.

In 2019, I was named as a BP Advancing Energy Scholar (30/2,500) to attend the One Young World Summit in London, UK. I was also honored to be featured by BP plc as one of the eleven "Future Energy Leaders" around the world who help to meet one of the world's biggest challenges: the need for cleaner energy with fewer emissions.

What's next?

I have already been accepted into the Ph.D. program at Cornell MAE, so a logical next step for me is to continue working with Prof. Shepherd in advancing the field of soft robotics from the development of flexible energy systems.

Favorite quote?

My favorite quote was from Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken – "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Social Media?

Personal profile: https://www.xliu.net/

Twitter profile: @xuliucornell

LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/xu-liu/

More Spotlights