I came to Tohoku University five years ago as an undergraduate student majoring in molecular chemistry. Coming from Thailand, I was nervous about adjusting to a new environment but I was also excited about the opportunities available.
The university advocates learning through activity. I remember as a freshman being encouraged to try different kinds of research through lab rotations. This helped me to figure out the kind of problems I was most interested in solving, and also provided my first hands-on experience as a future researcher.
Although Tohoku University is well known for its contributions to materials science research, good research is also happening in other departments. For example, Hidetoshi Oikawa, professor of organic chemistry, and I are trying to develop new photo-functional materials for improving energy storage.
Elsewhere, Akihiro Kijima, from the graduate school of agricultural science, started the Tohoku Ecosystem-Associated Marine Sciences (TEAMS) project, which aims to reconstruct the fisheries industries and restore marine life along the coast devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Ryuta Kawashima, professor of neuroscience, has conducted research on reversing the effects of ageing and dementia and created a series of apps and games around brain training. Kazuya Yoshida, from the graduate school of engineering, is competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE to land a rover on the Moon.
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As a researcher, I’ve been supported not just by the people around me but also by the well-equipped facilities. I remember spending almost a semester learning to use all the equipment in my laboratory alone.
University life is not just about the work we do in class, it is also about the friends and contributions we make in the community. As an international student, I appreciate Tohoku University’s large, diverse population.
I served as the president of the Tohoku University Foreign Students Association (TUFSA), a student-run organisation that promotes international activities on campus and in the wider community. The annual Tohoku University International Festival, for example, is a TUFSA project that attracts thousands of participants from across the Tohoku region.
The more time I spend at Tohoku University the more I want my research to make an impact in the future. My time here has developed my research skills and inspired me to be a better person.