This program helps develop a sense of international collaboration in research. I think it is a great opportunity for students because it broadens your experience and understanding of how research is not an isolate effort. In the broader perspective, it is also phenomenal to see how these laboratories in Japan are so open to working with student from America. I can only hope that as these more international efforts continue to increase as our world becomes increasingly more globalized.
More personally, I was inspired by a lot of the students I met in Japan. Many of the people I met actively challenged themselves to become proficient in English and learn about American culture. In fact, many of the students knew more about American culture, such as current shows on Broadway, than I did. Although this is a science and technology-focused program, I also felt that the experience in Japan has helped me appreciate Japanese culture and inspired me to explore many more cultures.
In a broader view, NanoJapan provides an opportunity to expose the next generation of engineers and scientists to working and interacting across cultures. This skill becomes increasingly more important as developing technologies continue to flatten the world. International experience can provide a competitive edge within the United States workforce, but more importantly it is also fosters a collaborative culture among the global community. It is quite apparent that many of the problems that we hope to overcome, such as climate change, cannot be solved by one country alone, but rather by a joint international effort.
Erin Sanehira Receives Honorable Mention for Best Poster Presentation at 2009 RQI Summer Research Colloquium
Erin Sanehira received an Honorable Mention for the Texas Instruments Best NanoJapan Poster Presentation award at the 2009 Rice Quantum Institute Summer Research Colloquium for her poster presentation on the Growth of Semiconductor Nanowires for Solar Cells.
In the cleanroom with my research mentor, Yoshimura-san.
Research Project Overview: Semiconducting Nanowires for Solar Cells
NanoJapan fit perfectly with my future goals. Since I want to conduct research in photovoltaic technology in the future, I was more than elated when I was assigned a project that focused on that topic. I conducted research at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan in Prof. Fukui's lab. My research project was to create nanowires for a photovoltaic, solar cell device. We created nanowires using MOVPE (metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy). Since a lot of my work involved shadowing experiments, I was heavily dependent on my research mentor to set my schedule. Since I was shadowing my mentor at times I felt that I didn't do much of the actual research or work, but I did learn a lot. The lab also had a lot of useful English resources such as journal submissions and textbooks. Although I was initially drawn to travelling to Japan for personal reasons, I learned that making connections in Japan is great for solar cell research as Japan is among the global leaders in solar power production.
Overall, I was highly encouraged by this research to continue pursuing my goal of research in photovoltaics. Although, I do not predict future work in MOVPE or crystal growth, this has reaffirmed my belief that electrical engineering can provide a solid foundation for research in this field.
Eri-san, Will and I, enjoying the Jinpa (Genghis Khan Party/BBQ).
Daily Life in Japan
During the research internship, I was able to set my own lifestyle in Japan. Typically, I had experiments once or twice a week. I would work with my research mentor during these experiments. Otherwise, I would eat lunch and interact with the other lab members. On a couple of the weekends during my stay, my lab members would plan fun things for us to do. For example, I saw the Yosakoi Soran (a dance festival), watched hanabi (fireworks), enjoyed onsen, and had a Genghis Khan party (BBQ party). One of my favorite parts about living in Sapporo would have to be soup curry. I am not joking. Soup Curry is probably one of my top five favorite foods from Japan and I could make it whenever I wanted in my dormitory.
While I was in Japan I wish I had...
Bought more meaningful souvenirs for myself. I was attracted to getting a lot of cheap, cutesy things instead of a couple of really nice items. I also wish I had more time and money.
Tips for Future NanoJapan Students