People \\ 2010 Program Participant
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Yi-An (Morgan) Lai - NanoJapan 2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Major/s: Physics and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Anticipated Graduation: May 2013
NJ Research Lab: Hokkaido University, Prof. Fukui

Why NanoJapan?
Japan is a paradox to me, and my desire to solve this paradox under a scientific setting is my very first reason to apply for this program. Japanese people emphasize etiquette and observe the order of social status within in their society: Under this seemingly “rigid” social structure, it is surprising that Japan is the world’s greatest technological innovation center for advanced robotics development. And this unbelievable culture and technology combination is the reason that I want to go back to spend more time exploring Japan and learn more about Japanese culture by working with them.

There are two important reasons that students studying science and engineering should have experience working in an international, cross-cultural setting. First of all, no country has monopoly on science. In same field of science or technology, different countries will take different paths on the road to development. And by working abroad, students such as me will develop new ideas for our own research. The second important reason to study in an international setting is because international cooperation is the reality of any research area. Through the overseas research programs, students and scientists can get a taste of the future research environment of working with people from around the world, and by doing so, will improve our interactive skills to become better global citizens.

On the personal level, NanoJapan provides me a great opportunity to pursue nanotechnology research as a freshman and the experience of NanoJapan is going to be my very first exposure for my future career as a researcher. Besides this, I am looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and make long term friendships while I am abroad.

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