Stefan Lee - graduate student | ECE | Virginia Tech

Stefan Lee Former ECE Postdoctoral Fellow


Portrait photograph of Stefan Lee
Stefan Lee

Where were you born?

Pensacola, Florida.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy playing board games with friends and have a substantial collection.

What are you researching? How might it impact society?

My work is primarily at the intersection of vision and language; developing artificial agents that can observe and discuss the world around them with humans in natural language. Aside from being an essential step towards more natural human-AI interactions, this sort of work can have immediate practical benefits in support devices for the visually impaired.

What influenced you to choose ECE at Virginia Tech?

The research coming out of the vision and language group at Virginia Tech was compelling, and I had the opportunity to interact with some of the relevant faculty prior to joining VT.

Will you briefly summarize your experience in the ECE department?

I joined the ECE department as a Bradley Postdoctoral Associate, and over my year had the opportunity to teach undergraduate and graduate student, advise students on research projects, and participate in faculty meetings and curriculum planning. I think my experience at VT prepared me to pursue an academic career in the future.

Will you briefly summarize your experience living in Blacksburg and the surrounding area?

My favorite part of living in Blacksburg was the low cost of living and wonderful hiking opportunities in the surrounding areas.

What is your ideal job? Why?

The academic ecosystem is very compelling to me, and my ideal job is as a faculty member. I find working with students on long term research projects very rewarding.

What can be done to attract more students with backgrounds similar to yours? What might be the challenges?

I think it is essential to continue to invest in the research community at VT in order to attract quality graduate and postdoctoral students.

In your opinion, what are the benefits to having diverse participation in a classroom, research group, or community setting?

Aside from the natural benefit diverse backgrounds and therefore perspectives bring to any academic settings, the universality of the academia is one of its greatest strengths — bringing together intelligent and creative people around the world to solve problems.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I shudder to think how much time Iâ??ve wasted worrying about things that never happened. I would likely encourage my younger self to focus more on what could be addressed at the time.