To me, NanoJapan is symbolic of the future. Globalization is well underway and people in all sorts of careers will need to understand how to work in an international world. Understanding different cultures is an important part of that. More importantly, the problems of today are complex and affect everyone. No longer can scientists and engineers afford to be divided, neither by discipline nor nationality. Climate change, alternative energy, and other problems require innovative solutions that will straddle the borders of many fields. It doesn’t make sense for nations or disciplines to work independently on these problems.
I applied to the program because Japan represents the convergence of personal interests and global trends. Japan is a science and technology powerhouse and one of the leading nations in the field of nanotechnology. Asia is an increasingly important region in our globalized world, so I appreciate the chance of personally getting to visit and experience an Asian nation’s culture. I am excited about getting to learn Japanese by actually getting to use it every day, but I very much appreciate how NanoJapan accommodates everyone by teaching you Japanese but also assigning students to labs that speak English. On a more personal level, I want to experience a completely different culture than the one I am used to. I’ve always enjoyed exports of Japanese video games and television shows, and I’m very excited about the idea of going to Akihibara, a district where it seems every video game and electronics company has their own personal store. I want to try Japanese foods with no obvious American counterpart, whether that’s traditional cuisine or yogurt soda.
I’m also very excited about the research I will get to do over the summer. I can’t wait to work with carbon nanotubes! In Professor Sueoka’s lab, I’ll use many different many techniques in nanofabrication and characterization. This will be a great way to become more familiar with cutting-edge research in nanotechnology and I look forward to learning how to use the various kinds of equipment.