People \\ 2008 Program Participant
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Clare Ouyang - NanoJapan 2008
Rice University

Shinshu University
Advisor: Morinobu Endo
Project: Structural Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes and Their Anode Performance

Major/s: Bioengineering
Anticipated Graduation: May 2011

NanoJapan Research Overview
My project in Japan with the Endo Lab was related to improving the anode quality of Lithium-ion batteries using Carbon nanomaterials as anodic materials. Although I do not usually work with carbon nanotubes back here, it provided a valuable experience that I may not otherwise have been able to incorporate into my undergraduate research work. It also inspired me to consider looking at another path other than just bio-related engineering. I think working in an international research setting allowed me to learn to adapt quickly. One of the best ways to adapt quickly is to try to learn as much of the language as you can and interact with the other people in the lab. That way, if you don’t entirely understand the language, at least it is possible to understand their personal habits and judge your environment that way. I think this experience really enforced my goal to work towards a graduate degree and work in an international reserch setting again.

Meaning of NanoJapan
The NanoJapan program provided an opportunity for me to go to Japan not as a tourist but as a student researcher actually living there. It allowed me to gain a perspective on the daily lives of modern Japanese as opposed to the tourist’s view. I also decided upon the program because it looked engaging and paves a way for future international collaboration. Also, I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese so this was a perfect experience.

I believe this program allows students to bridge the gap between cultures and also allows for the development of new networks of colleagues and friends. The future of engineering and physics will be to help close the multicultural gap between the US and other nations. By providing opportunities for young students to become more globally aware the program will help ensure less tension in the future.

Daily Life in Japan
Japan was very calm I think. Perhaps it was the ambience of the lab and the people, but I rarely feel a need to hurry or rush as much. Even food-wise, I knew that even if I did miss a meal, I could just go down to the convenience store or supermarket and grab a ready-made food (that unlike in the US isn’t too greasy or oily). Therefore, I was very much at peace with the whole environment. Also, it was exuberating when I successfully communicated in Japanese with people I met. For example, to be able to have a short conversation with workers or the taxi cab driver was really rewarding considering I went to Japan not knowing anything. The transportation itself was a heaven-sent. There was no way I could have gotten around if a car was needed, but in Japan, a bike and a rail ticket pass was all you need to get around the whole place. Despite having a very scheduled summer, it was also extremely relaxing.

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