Celebrating the life of Jinxuan ‘Janice’ Zhou (1997–2021)

Master’s student remembered for ‘sunny smile’ and contributions to communities and research

Jixuan “Janice” Zhou died in Cambridge on Feb. 25, President L. Rafael Reif wrote in an email to the MIT community Feb. 26.

Zhou was a first-year master’s student studying mechanical engineering and aeronautics and astronautics and a resident of Edgerton House. At MIT, Zhou worked in the Aerospace Controls Laboratory, “investigating intriguing new directions for how to have multiple robots learn in the world at the same time” with application to “autonomous aerial vehicles and cars.”

Prior to studying at MIT, Zhou completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto. The university “celebrated Janice as one of its ‘grads to watch,’ citing her playful spirit, her imaginative contributions to campus life and her nimbleness as an engineer,” Reif wrote.

Reif added that Zhou’s friends said that even “face coverings could not mask her smile.”

Zhou’s friends and acquaintances left messages and memories for her and her family at Dignity Memorial’s obituary site.

Lena Downes SM ’20 wrote that Zhou was “so kind and thoughtful” and “made a huge impact on everyone who she met” at MIT. “Her sunny smile and warm personality will always stay with me. I am grateful to have known her, even for a short time,” Downes wrote.

Dong Ki Kim SM ’20 wrote that Zhou “always had lovely smiles.” She “shared her exciting research ideas in robotics & AI” during their research meetings, Kim added. Kim said that he would “forever remember” Zhou as his “bright and happy friend.”

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