Profile: Dr. Keng Hsu balances life, work, & research

Headshot of Keng HsuThe transition between the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University and here at the J.B. Speed School at the University of Louisville, has taken some adjustment for Dr. Keng Hsu. A new faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Hsu has had to ease into the inconsistent weather, a stark change from the dry heat of the desert. Prior to his time at ASU, Hsu studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his doctorate, with his undergraduate and master’s secured in his native country of Taiwan.

Hsu grew up in a machine shop owned by his father, and developed a fascination with manufacturing solutions to practical problems. It was that interest that led him to his education in mechanical engineering, which has culminated in work using sound to manipulate matter for 3D printing, among other pursuits.
It wasn’t always that way. Hsu, married with one son, used to balance his academic and recreational interests carefully, developing a taste for sports along the way, which he continues as a hobbyist with his wife and son to stay active.

“I personally very much enjoy playing golf. I have been playing since 15. At a point in college, I almost turned pro. However, my nerdiness won so I took a journey in academia,” says Hsu.

Now, Hsu balances his free time playing with legos with his son, spending time with his wife, and working on cars as time allows. As a professor, Hsu works likewise to maintain a harmony between his research, academic, and professional responsibilities, which he admits is not easy.  

“I am still learning, but between managing research projects, writing too many proposals, spending time awake in the middle of the night thinking about possible ways to do certain experiments, and spending time with students (whether in a classroom or in the lab) making sure they learn what they need and that they have fun doing it, I still manage to find time to enjoy spending time with my wife and so. Maybe it explains why I am getting less and less sleep and feeling older everyday,” says Hsu.

He adds, “It’s not easy to juggle all these responsibilities, and to make sure having fun doing it. I try. I try hard.  That’s all, I think. I don’t really have any specific method or approach I use. Although, I guess the fact that I love science and people do make it a bit easier to be in the position I am in.”

While he has yet to link up with any student organizations or engage in the larger Speed Community, he is looking forward to the chance to connect. 

“I am so new to University of Louisville that I am still learning about all the student organizations and groups.  My instinct would be to check in with the car groups like the Baja or Formula and see if they need some old guy’s input on how to work on a racecar, but that might be a bit less creative. In a few months, I am sure I will be looking to find opportunities to serve in that capacity.”