Current Position: Graduate Student, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania
Through the NanoJapan Program I did research on atomic force microscopy (AFM) in Hasegawa-sensei's lab at the University of Tokyo, in Chiba prefecture. The campus location was perhaps an hour from downtown Tokyo, which could easily be reached by taking the Tsukuba Express, a train with a station at a 20 minute walk from the research center. The work I did consisted of constructing and characterizing a non-contact AFM system for use in medium vacuum conditions. To characterize the system, I assisted in conducting experiments with a gold-coated cantilever, attempting to deposit gold nanowires less than 10 nm in diameter on a silicon surface.
While in Japan, I had a lot of opportunities to travel. In addition to visiting Yokohama, Hakone, and Kyoto with other members of NanoJapan, I also went hiking in Nagano prefecture with my lab group, climbed Mt. Fuji, and visited a lab in Sendai associated with the University of Tokyo lab. NanoJapan encouraged me to seek more international experiences; I'm currently studying abroad in Hong Kong through the Rice University Exchange Program with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Academically, I have decided since NanoJapan to pursue a DSP-oriented rather than nano-oriented track. However, I did enjoy the research work that I did in Japan, and would cite it as one of the reasons I'm considering applying to graduate school. The summer of 2007 will see me headed to USC to do research with a natural language processing (NLP) group there. This work will focus on new statistical processes for machine learning.
Although I have not pursued further Japanese language study since last summer, such further study continues to be one of my goals. I hope to be able to take Japanese 102 at Rice in the Spring of 2008.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
Done more language preparation. The NanoJapan language classes were excellent, and I think I could have gotten even more out of them if I had come in with basic Japanese knowledge and been able to do intermediate-level work.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
Hiking in Nagano with my lab group. I got to know the lab members a lot better there, and had more of a chance to practice speaking Japanese. The trip exposed me to details of Japanese culture, and left me with the general impression that rest stops along the highways in the US could be much improved if they followed the Japanese example and installed free green tea dispensers.