Yancheng Wang of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China, was honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State’s summer commencement ceremonies on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
Wang graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and a bachelor’s degrees in mathematics from the Eberly College of Science and a degree in philosophy and minor in the philosophy of math and science from the College of Liberal Arts. He was a Schreyer Scholar in the Schreyer Honors College and a member of the Dean’s List for every semester. Wang has been honored with numerous awards and scholarships, including the Shibley Award and the Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award in 2022, the H. Freeman Stecker Scholarship in 2021, the President Sparks Award for 2020 to 2021, and the President’s Freshman Award in 2019.
“This is a huge honor, and I am grateful for this recognition from the Eberly College of Science,” said Wang. “I am proud of this recognition, and I know my professors, my family, and friends will be proud as well. I am extremely lucky to have encountered all the great professors who offered me their generous help and kindness, both in math and in philosophy. I owe a big thank you to all of them.”
Wang conducted his honors thesis research with Jessica Conway, associate professor of mathematics and biology. His research focused on concepts in differential game theory, a branch of mathematics that explores the outcomes of a participant’s choice in competitive situations. Game theory can be applied in fields ranging from business to biology. Wang specifically studied a classic problem called the Lady in the Lake problem, which explores concepts of pursuit and evasion in the form of a woman trapped on a boat in a lake while a pursuer waits on shore. He also provided a simpler proof for the Nash Equilibrium strategy, which describes a circumstance where each player in a game commits to certain strategy based on the others. He also provided a numerical approximation algorithm for the fastest Nash Equilibrium strategy.
“The most important lesson I learned at Penn State is to stay active in life, no matter in what respect,” said Wang. “I have been inspired by so many fellow students and professors in different areas, but they share one thing in common—they are passionate and tireless. They never just sit idle, but instead are always actively putting effort into something. I think this attitude makes life more significant and vivid.”
After graduation, Wang plans to take a year to travel and visit family before attending graduate school.
Wang is a graduate of Northland Christian School in Houston, Texas. His parents are Qiuxia Li and Weizhong Wang and his host parents in Houston are Cathie and Patrick Yerian.