On the Bright Side: Area professor spends summer teaching in China

Appeared on “The Daily Star” By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer

A SUNY Cobleskill assistant professor’s recent trip to China is enhancing the college’s status as an increasingly globalized campus, according to a recent media release.

Dr. Soundarapandian Vijayakumar, assistant professor of biology at SUNY Cobleskill and adjunct associate research scientist at Columbia University, traveled to Nanjing, China, for four weeks this summer to teach and present his research on polycystic kidney disease and cell biology at a university that SUNY Cobleskill has close ties with, the release said.

During Vijayakumar’s stay, he educated the students and faculty on his research regarding how and why cysts develop in human kidneys, and taught a wide range of intensive biochemistry topics, including chemical bonds, the makeup of water and the structure and function of DNA, proteins and lipids, to more than 26 Chinese students.

The trip was part of a biotechnology dual diploma agreement between the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill and the Jinling Institute of Technology in China, the release said. Students who attend the Jinling Institute of Technology can acquire a Chinese accredited degree along with a SUNY Cobleskill degree through participation in the “3 +1” dual diploma program.

Those enrolled in this program spend their first three years of undergraduate study at the Jinling Institute of Technology, then study at the SUNY Cobleskill campus for their remaining year.

“My students were great,” Vijayakumar said. “They worked very hard, and though there was a language barrier it was never a troublesome issue.”

Vijayakumar spent his free time in China sightseeing and taking in the country’s rich history, he said. He climbed the Great Wall of China and visited the Forbidden City, the Yuyuan Garden, the Jing’an Temple, the Sun Yat Sen Museum, the Presidential Palace, the Temple of Confucius and the Nanjing Massacre Museum.

“Learning other cultures and trying new things is an experience I would definitely recommend to students and faculty,” Vijayakumar said.

International accredited agreements like this one between SUNY Cobleskill and Chinese higher education institutions, “provide rewarding cross-cultural experiences to students and faculty alike,” the release said.