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Celebrating Asian/ Pacific American Heritage Month: Highlighting engineer Danny Cai

Danny Cai: Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Americans’ culture and achievements

As the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) celebrates Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month throughout May, PPPL is highlighting some of our staff and asking them to tell us what the month means to them. This is the first of a weekly series throughout May.

Name: Danny Cai

Position:Mechanical Engineer

How long at PPPL: Seven years

Please describe your job:

“I’m the responsible engineer for vacuum fueling systems for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade and I’m also the cognizant engineer for the center stack casing and the cooling system design and for the NSTX-U coil bus design in the test cell." 

Three things about yourself

  1. “I like soccer. I’ve been a big soccer fan since I was a teenager. I enjoy watching the U.S. women’s team because they’re very good and the World Cup. The World Cup is like a big festival for me. “
  2. “I like the national parks. They are really fantastic and beautiful. I have visited lots of national parks in the U.S. already and some of them multiple times.”
  3. “I like to cook. In my spare time, I try lots of Asian food, like Chinese food, Japanese food, and also Korean food, sometimes Thai food, but I don’t cook Thai food a lot. I research the recipe and just see if I can repeat and improve.”

What does Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

“The first thing that comes to mind is celebration: You celebrate your culture as Asians or Pacific Islanders as a group, your achievement in the U.S., and your culture’s integration into the United States.

When I first came here for graduate school from China I had only two pieces of luggage. I think for me particularly as a first-generation immigrant I consider myself lucky compared to the people who came before me…The human civilization now is obviously much better than it was then. I think there still needed improvement in terms of different cultures understanding and respecting each other. But overall I consider myself a lucky person.”

What does working at PPPL mean to you?

“As an engineer I consider myself very lucky to have this kind of job… We are considering the next generation fusion machine here and you can see the really challenging part is engineering…We’re pushing to the limit of our current knowledge. A lot of it is a challenge and there are always new things to learn. You never get bored. “




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