Tiffany graduated from Rice University in May of 2009 and is currently a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Last summer was one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. With NanoJapan, I got to work with NTT Basic Research Labs, the ATT Bell Labs equivalent in Japan. I researched purification and AFM analysis of a protein for nanobiological optical devices for Dr. Keiichi Torimitsu. I became the resident atomic force microscope hermit and spent many hours scanning a cell membrane looking for the protein, in addition to learning basic protein purification. Most interestingly, I researched in a corporate environment, quite different from a university experience. I lived about twenty minutes away in an apartment complex with some other international researchers and discovered the joy of living close to a convenience store (konbini). Most of my co-workers were older and had families, so I spent my weekends exploring how far the rail lines could take me.
Independently and with other NanoJapan students, I visited Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Aki-ba, and climbed Mt Fuji to see the sunrise. With my lab group, I had lessons in karate, flower arranging, and went to the local Jibiki Ami sea festival. I used my Japanese as much as I could (actually, most people assumed I was fluent) and had a lot of fun explaining why I was there. Unfortunately, Japanese 102 has conflicted with other classes and I've been unable to continue my studies, though I definetly intend to in the future. I currently work at the Mikos Bioengineering Lab at Rice on wound healing applications; my experience at NTT has helped build my background in the biological aspect of my research. NanoJapan has shown me how I can combine both my interests in traveling and research into an amazing international exchange.
For the Fall 2007 semester I will study abroad through a direct enrollment program at the Universidad de San Francisco en Quito in Ecuador. While there I will be completing some of my distribution/liberal studies credits as I take courses in sociology and rural community health. But before I go, I plan to spend the summer of 2007 at Stony Brook University working on biodegradable wound healing applications and drug delivery.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
Learned a basic level of Japanese, so that once I got to Japan, I could work on further developing conversational skills. Other than, I have no regrets! Oh, one more - if you're small in stature and like to shop, pack light. My suitcase was almost as large as I am which made getting around a bit difficult.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
I took a weekend trip to Kiso Valley, through a mountain trail that connected two well-maintained traditional towns. I took multiple overnight trains to the valley, watched the people open up shop and start the day, ate fresh soba, and met nice elderly folks along the road. The scenery along the way was breathtaking, with fields of rice paddies, waterfalls, winding hiking paths, and nice big rocks to rest on.
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