People \\ 2008 Program Participant
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Aanchal Raj - NanoJapan 2008
Carnegie Mellon University

Tohoku University
Advisor: Hiroyuki Nojiri
Project: Quantum Tunneling of Nanomagnets Using Time-Dependent High Magnetic Fields

Major/s: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Anticipated Graduation: May 2011

Alumni Update
Aanchal Raj has been accepted into the Harvard Business School (HBS) 2+2 MBA program. The HBS 2+2 program consists of two years of work, then two years of immersion in the MBA program at Harvard Business School.
>> Learn More About the HBS 2+2 Program

"Even almost 3 years later, as a senior now, my participation in NanoJapan has been one of the most monumental events in my college experience! I cannot thank you and everyone else who was involved in the process enough." ~Aanchal Raj

Aanchal has been selected for a Summer 2009 internship with Bank of America, NY in their Global Markets Technology Division. She will also be participating in the Capital One Summit for Developing Leaders in May 2009.

She has also been accepted into the Carnegie Mellon University Exchange ECE-Approved Exchange Program and will spend the Fall 2009 term studying abroad in Switzerland at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).

NanoJapan Research Overview
I had the unique experience of having Prof. Hiroyuki Nojiri at Tohoku University personally assist and teach me while I was working on my project. Especially since all the specialized equipment in the lab was built entirely by my professor, it was a privilege and honor to be able to learn directly from him. I learned how to conduct various time-pulsed magnetization measurements as well as Electron Spin Resonance. Using the highly specialized and practically ‘homemade’ equipment was all new to me, but a great chance to become familiar with the procedures during my research. I thoroughly enjoyed learning so many new theories, concepts, and processes in the lab every day. The international setting provided a new perspective about how research is conducted as well as interactions between lab members. Also, my lab had visitors from other areas in Japan and even the UK who came to conduct experiments, so I was even able to glean some information of how international research collaboration is handled in Japanese labs.

Meaning of NanoJapan
An understanding and appreciation between various cultures is essential for international research. The NanoJapan program is truly unique in enabling first and second year college students to gain such valuable cross-cultural scientific experience. Even more so today than ever before, the attributes of the ultimate Renaissance man hold true for a leader in science. To be a leader in science requires much more than just a technical expertise; it requires entrepreneurship and skills in leadership, communication, and most of all cultural awareness with the ever increasing global collaboration. The intense language experience along with the research and living on my own in Japan have helped me learn more about all of the various skills needed to be successful in the modern scientific community. Just as the theory of wave-particle duality of an electron, the research and travel duality of the NanoJapan program was essential in building upon my technical education in Electrical and Computer and preparing me for my future goals. I cannot wait to pursuer further international opportunities such as this!

Daily Life in Japan
My research period in Sendai was easily the most independent I have ever been and thus everyday was a new challenge to test my capabilities and newfound knowledge of the Japanese language. Interacting with the Japanese in my living area or lab involved a great deal of initiative from me. I became used to using broken Japanese to begin conversations with new Japanese friends and members in the lab. The struggle and the animated conversations with people everyday is one of the things that I will most miss. Everyday, due to my apartment location, I would bike easily 1 to 2 hours to reach my Japanese classes and then my lab. Instead of dancing the 4 times a week as I was used to in the US, I now biked. It served as an intense change in lifestyle, but it was good exercise and I quickly became accustomed to the routine. I even tried to assimilate to the culture of women riding bikes while wearing 3-inch heels. Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as it may seem, but I would still prefer my sneakers. The most rewarding experiences for me were traveling and navigating on my own, especially from Sendai to Sapporo via a 14-hour overnight Taiheiyo Ferry. More specifically, conversing with a Japanese travel agent who did not know English to make appropriate travel reservations for the trip was a true test of my language capabilities and allowed me to become more confident of living on my own.

My favorite experience in Japan was...
Dancing with a Japanese hip-hop group that I happened to see practicing in a subway station near Osaka during our visit to Kyoto for the Mid-term meeting. The few hours of dancing was well worth missing the okonomiyaki dinner and was definitely my most favorite and best moment ever!

Before I left for Japan I wish I had ...
Packed an extra duffle bag in my suitcase to bring back everything I bought in Japan.

While I was in Japan I wish I had...
Tried more types of food without hesitation and had a chance to learn to cook some Japanese food.

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