Lauren Hattaway

“This internship has helped me to gain a global perspective. I’ve learned that so many people have different methods and ideals depending on where they grow up. Seeing this has made it even more important for me to always listen to other’s ideas.   I have qualities that allow me to be adaptable to situations. Being in a new country without being able to communicate with the locals is very challenging. Because I am resourceful, patient, and have good common sense, I was able to navigate the new environment using social skills and tools to help me.   I loved being able to learn about the new apparatuses that enabled me to delve into the field of nanomaterials. It is something that I have never directly worked with, so I enjoyed being exposed to the new concepts. One of my favorite things that I did in Japan was play volleyball with the other local students. That particular group knew very little English, so we really couldn’t communicate with words. Regardless, we were still able to play volleyball together.”

Jose Rivero

“Hello, I’m Jose Rivero, a Computer Engineering Student at FIU. During the internship, my research consisted of printing and testing 3D-printed shadow masks to create split-ring resonators (SRRs) made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). This specific combination of features essentially makes capacitors on the micro and nano scale. Using 3D printing can change the scale on which these micro features are fabricated. This internship affected my thoughts on research and graduate school, helping me interact directly with research projects before entering grad school. I now also have connections and experience in Japan to aid in my choices. As a computer engineer, I was chosen based on my programming knowledge developing a Labview interface and working on 3D modeling software for 3D printing. My favorite part during the internship was meeting new people. You get to meet different people from your research, activities, connections, or simply at the dorms. Making new friends while in Japan made all the difference in daily life. You get to exchange cultures, share advice, and have meaningful connections that last.”

  Srujana Yellapragada

“As an aspiring researcher, I want to contribute to society through impactful research within the field of nanoscience/nanotechnology. I’ve had prior research experience studying nanomedicine, but I wanted to expand my interests into various research topics categorized under this field. Through this internship, I was exposed to different experimental skills that I would not learn in a traditional lab course and became more competent in conducting my own data analysis. My qualities of being persistent, innovative, and goal-oriented helped me to enjoy my research project and obtain the desired results. However, those could not have been reflected without the international experience I’ve also had. I’ve learned to collaborate with individuals of different work ethics while adapting to an environment where I was new to the language and culture. With that said, I had a wonderful time working with all the graduate students and faculty members who gave me the courage to present at the Japan Society of Applied Physics Conference. I will also never forget the karaoke nights. I often hear that music transcends languages. It sure does when we all sang to Japanese and English songs regardless of the language barrier. I also loved walking around Kyoto in our Yukatas despite the summer heat. I look forward to doing those again.”


Matthew Rincon

“This internship helped me in many ways since I didn’t have any research experience, so it helped me broaden my perspective on how the research was done and organized. Since I have never been outside of the country it also helped me be able to adapt to how Japanese culture and compare it to the culture here. It helped me to listen to others’ ideas and follow them so I can learn new things. In general, I would say that this internship helped widen my views on new things both culturally and mentally. If I’m being honest I don’t know why I was selected other than the fact that I like to learn new things and to do that I must always stay positive, respectful, and eager to learn more. Through this process, I learn from others other valuable qualities and tried to integrate them to myself such as leadership, resourcefulness, and improved organizational skills. In this internship, I have two actions that I did that I rate to be almost the same value-wise for me. The first was I got to understand how to communicate with the Japanese students and learn how life was for them to compare it to what I know. This proved to be enjoyable to me because I like to learn new things, so I got to broaden my knowledge on that and reconfirm what I knew. My second was that I got to go out and explore the culture of Japan by visiting local shires and even going to the onsen which I was able to understand what to do and don’t do by talking to the Japanese students, researching, and asking the others in the internship so I can respect the proper customs as best as I can.”

Rebekah Arias

“This internship helped me to develop research skills and taught me how to be more independent in the lab, which will help me in my future career. I demonstrated that I could handle work on my own and could adapt quickly to any situation or project. Being open minded to new research projects and fields was a must for this internship, even though I was a biomedical engineer I was able to find a way how the project could relate to my major and helped me in some category with my classes as well. I really enjoyed learning about the RF Magnetron sputtering machine and seeing how all the mechanics work, the graduate students of the lab were a great help and were always there for any question I would have. I further enhanced my skills with MATLAB as well throughout this internship and was able to analyze the catalyst for single-walled carbon nanotubes and learn how they are nucleated and grown. Outside of the lab ,I was able to enjoy may cities beyond the beautiful Kochi, such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling to these cities in the night bus and getting to experience the great culture and people of Japan!”

Vijay Paharia

I will be forever grateful for this amazing opportunity, it went far beyond anything I could have imagined. The research I experienced was second to none, getting to build equipment and perform plasma surface treatments, analyze the results using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and present before the greater scientific community at the JSAP Convention. Thanks to Sukma-san, the PHD in charge of Dr. Hatta’s plasma lab, I now know how to develop and implement an experiment from concept to publication. I believe it was my forthright personality and my hunger for knowledge that led me to be selected for this internship, and which also made me a good fit for interacting with the students and professors at KUT. The most memorable experiences outside of the research I was doing came from weekend outings with friends and professors. Most notably, my sensai Dr. Hatta introduced me to a retired knife maker who was an imperial forger from whom I was able to purchase the best knives I’ve ever seen. As someone who has worked in restaurant for years, this is a great and very coveted honor to have been bestowed upon me, and only one of several such experiences. I will never forget the kindness and amazing experiences he and his family and friends gifted me with while working in his lab, and hope someday to return my gratitude.”