TA Spotlight: Yicheng Wang

Yicheng Wang

Yicheng Wang is a TA for CS 7642: Reinforcement Learning. Keep reading to learn more about Yicheng!

What do you do professionally?

I was working at Google when I started the program but left after two semesters to focus on academic research. I completed a visiting researcher role at UC San Diego's Design Lab in 2021, and currently I conduct research at the intersection of NLP and HCI supervised by Professors Diyi Yang (Stanford) and Amy Bruckman (Georgia Tech). I am also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pace University, where I teach topics such as Human-Computer Interaction and Human Factors/Usability Testing.

Why do you TA for OMSCS?

When I took CS 7642: Reinforcement Learning in Summer 2021, I was probably one of the most active students on Piazza. I enjoyed answering other students' questions, and I often went quite deep into the textbook or read into a lot of research papers to do so. One of the TAs asked if I'd thought about TA-ing. One conversation led to another, and I've now TA-ed for the class for over a year! I keep coming back because TA-ing is a rewarding process. Not only do I continue to learn new things every semester, but I've learned a lot about how much work it takes to coordinate a small team to manage an online class at the scale of OMSCS. It's always nice seeing the course reviews and knowing that some students enjoyed your office hours.

What is your advice for future OMSCS students?

This program is quite demanding and can be very stressful at times, but it's also been a wonderful opportunity to study CS academically. I highly recommend that incoming students think deeply about self-care: consider strategies on how to de-stress, understand your strengths and weaknesses as a student (e.g., good at memorizing, prefer projects over exams, etc.), and have a plan for taking breaks. These skills are critical to long-term success due to how long the program can be at a pace of one class per semester.

What's your favorite memory from your time in or working with OMSCS so far?

I've made several friends during the program. One friend was kind enough to send me fresh coffee by mail! I've had drinks with one, and have gone to restaurants while traveling based on another's recommendations. While the online format can feel a bit isolating sometimes, there are still plenty of ways to meet new people that might end up part of your network for many years to come.