Alumni Updates

There is no better testament to the impact and success of the Nakatani RIES Fellowship that the further accomplishments of our alumni. To date, a total 46 students have participated in our 2016 and 2017 programs including 20 Japanese students and 26 U.S. students. Click on the tabs below for updates on the further accomplishments of our Fellows.

If you are a Nakatani RIES Fellow and would like to share an update with us, please email sphillips@rice.edu or nakatani-ries@rice.edu.

Alumni Updates
For information on individual student accomplishments please click the tabs below.

2016 Japanese Fellows

Hiromi Miwa
Keio University, Applied Chemistry
Bachelor's Degree Awarded: March 2017
Current Position: Ph.D., Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, In Progress

Graduate School: In September 2017, Hiromi will begin a Ph.D. program in Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Congratulations and best of luck with your graduate studies Hiromi!


Soya Miyoshi
Tohoku University, Electrical, Information and Physics Engineering
Expected Graduation Date: March 2019

Other International Experience: Soya will spend eight months at the National University of Singapore as part of Tohoku University's Study Abroad Exchange Program with funding from  業務スーパージャパンドリーム財団. He will be in Singapore from August 2017 to mid-May 2018. Congratulations Soya – we hope you have a wonderful experience studying in Singapore! 


Toshihiro Takada
Ristumeikan University, Environmental Systems Engineering
Bachelor's Degree Awarded: March 2017
Current Position: MSc., Environmental Sciences, Wagenigen University, In Progress

Graduate School: In October 2017, Toshihiro will begin his graduate studies at Wagenigen University in the Netherlands where he will be pursuing an MSc in Environmental Sciences. Congratulations and best of luck with your graduate studies Toshihiro!


Tatsuya Tanaka
Waseda University
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor's Degree Awarded: March 2017
Current Position: M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University, In Progress

Further International Experience: Tatsuya will return to Rice University from May 2017 – February 2018 to conduct research in Prof. Tayfun Tezduyar's lab as a visiting scholar with financial support form Tobitate Japan Scholarship Program founded by the Ministry of Education Japan and corporate sponsors. He is also looking forward to the opportunity to meet and serve as a mentor for the 2017 Japanese Fellows when they arrive at Rice in August.  Welcome back to Rice Tatsuya!  


2016 U.S. Fellows

Ronald (Rony) Ballouz
University of Texas, Austin, Electrical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Further International Research Experience: During the summer of 2017, Rony will participate in TU Munich's Practical Research Experience Program in Germany where his research project will focus on a statistical optimization problem in circuit testing. Gute Reise Rony!


Daniel Gilmore
Purdue University, Computer Engineering & Mathematics
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Further Study Abroad & International Internship Experience: During the 2017 spring semester, Daniel studied abroad in Spain at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Following the completion of his semester study abroad program, Daniel began a 6-month internship with HP at their large-format printing site in Barcelona. Congratulations on your study and internship experiences in Spain Daniel! 


Mayssa Gregoire
St. Joseph’s College, New York, Chemistry
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Further Domestic Research Experience: During the summer of 2017, Mayssa will be participating in the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC) Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Colorado School of Mines.  Her project will focus on synthesizing and characterizing ternary compounds for thermoelectric applications. She shared with us "I am excited about the project and it's also been nice to compare research environments between the U.S and Japan. I think I am in for another great summer." Congratulations Mayssa and enjoy Colorado! 


Benjamin Kaiser
Bethel University, Physics
Expected Graduation: May 2018

Further International Study Experience: During the summer of 2017, Benjamin will be doing an internship with NASA. Congratulations Ben! 


Erica Lin
Brown University, Applied Mathematics – Biology and East Asian Studies
Expected Graduation: May 2019

Further International Research Experience: During the summer of 2017, Erica will be returning to Japan to conduct a research internship at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine from June to August. Congratulations Erica! 頑張ってください !


Haihao Liu

Rice University, Materials Science & NanoEngineering and Mathematics
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Scholarships and Fellowships: Haihao was selected as a recipient of the 2017-2018 Tau Beta Pi Scholarship. Tau Beta Pi is the oldest engineering honor society in the US (2nd oldest honor society in general). Each year they award about 200 scholarships ($2000 for full-year, $1000 per semester) to rising seniors. Congratulations on this honor Haihao! 

Further International Research Experience: During the summer of 2017, Haihao will be doing experimental research creating a graphene-based gas sensor device at Shandong University in China, under a joint program with Rice University's Materials Science & NanoEngineering Department's Summer International Research Experience Program.  This program was developed through the establishment of the Joint Center for Carbon Nanomaterials between Rice and Shandong. "This was a particularly serendipitous opportunity for me, because Shandong is actually my dad’s home province, where half my relatives still live!" Congratulations Haihao and we hope you have another great summer of research abroad!  

Further Study Abroad Experience: During the spring 2017 semester, Haihao will be studying abroad in France through the Rice University Exchange Program at the École centrale Paris. While studying abroad, Haihao will also have the opportunity to conduct research for a project-based class. He will work in the Structures, Properties and Modeling of Solids (SPMS) Lab investigating the electrocaloric effect in multiferroic materials for solid-state cooling device applications, doing both experimental (synthesis, measurement) and computer modeling work. Bon Voyage Haihao!


Brinda Malhotra
Carnegie Mellon University, Mechanical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2018

Scholarships & Fellowships: Brinda was awarded a 2017 SMART: Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation Scholarship. The SMART Scholarship has been established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories. Recipients of this prestigious award receive support for full tuition and fees, an annual stipend, opportunities for summer research internships, mentoring, and employment placement after graduation.  Congratulations Brinda and best of luck with your future academic and research pursuits! 


Donald Swen
Columbia University, Materials Science & Nanoengineering, Second Bachelor's Degree, Commencing Fall 2017
Willamette University, B.S., Physics, Received Spring 2017 

2017 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Recipient:  In 2017, Donald was one of just 240 sophomore and junior students selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a application pool of 1,286 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from universities nationwide. Of those reporting, 133 of Goldwater Scholars are men, 103 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-two Goldwater Scholars are mathematics majors, 153 are science and related majors, 51 are majoring in engineering, and 14 are computer science majors. Many of Goldwater Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science. The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Congratulations Donald on this highly prestigious award! 

Further International Research Experience: Donald will spend the summer of 2017 participating in the ISTernships program at the Institute of Technology in Austria. His research will be focused on Quantum Integrated Devices with under the advisement of Prof. Johannes Fink. He's even keep a weekly blog of his summer in Vienna, modeled off of the weekly reports he did in the Nakatnai RIES program. Congratulations Donald – we hope you have another great summer conducting research abroad! 


Youssef Tobah
University of Texas, Austin, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Expected Graduation: May 2018

Further Domestic Research Experience: In the Summer of 2017, Youssef will participate in an summer internship program with NASA. He will be working on an ongoing project that seeks to build a system that can enter the Earth's orbit and autonomously refuel a satellite used for taking photos of the Earth, as that satellite is currently running low on fuel. Congratulations Youssef! 


Nickolas Walling
Rice University, Mechanical Engineering and Computational & Applied Math
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Further Study Abroad Experience: In the Summer of 2017 Nickolas will participate in the Rice in Japan language study abroad program. This is an innovative 6-week intensive Japanese language and intercultural communication summer program. It maximizes students’ opportunities to interact with local people through home-stays, community engagement, language partners, and cultural excursions. Nickolas will be in the Tokyo area from May 17 – June 25 and will be traveling in Japan until July 5, 2017.  Congratulations Nickolas! 頑張ってください !


Sasha Yamada
University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, Electrical Engineering
Expected Graduation: May 2019

Further International Experience: In the summer of 2017, Sasha will return to Japan to participate in a one-month study abroad program at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Congratulations Nickolas! 頑張ってください !


Peer Review Journal Articles
To date, the following Nakatani RIES Fellows have had peer-review journal articles published as a result of their summer research experience.

Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter

Haihao Liu
Rice University, Materials Science & NanoEngineering and Mathematics
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Paper Title: "Hidden symmetries in N-layer dielectric stacks"
Authors: Haihao Liu2, M Shoufie Ukhtary1 and Riichiro Saito1
Publication:  October 10, 2017, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Volume 29, Number 45

 


Alumni Follow-on Projects
All Nakatani RIES Fellows are expected to complete a Follow-on Project that helps to promote science & engineering, international research, and our program to the next generation of students.  These projects are student-directed and typically completed during the academic year immediately following participation in our program.  See below for examples of what some of our alumni have done for their Follow-on Projects to date!

2016 JP Fellows' Follow-on Projects

Takuya Kurihana
Atmospheric Science, University of Tsukuba 
Anticipated Graduation Date: April 2017

In October 2016, Takuya Kurihana, presented on his summer research experience in the U.S. as a Nakatani RIES Fellow at the University of Tsukuba.  He shared information on the research project he conducted and encouraged other students at his university to consider applying to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship. Thank you for sharing your experience with other students Takuya! 

 


Yunong Wang presenting about the Nakatani RIES Fellowship at an information session held at Nagoya University in the Fall of 2016.

Yunong Wang
Materials Science, Toyota Technological Institute
Anticipated Graduation Date: April 2018 

 

In October 2016, Yunong Wang, presented on her summer research experience in the U.S. as a Nakatani RIES Fellow at Toyota Technological Institute.  She shared information on the research project he conducted and encouraged other students at his university to consider applying to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship. Thank you for sharing your experience with other students Yunong! 

 

In January 2017, Yunong also visited Nagoya University in January 2017 to give an information session on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship for Japanese Students. She shared information on her experience in the U.S. last summer and encouraged Nagoya students to apply to our 2017 program. Thank you for your continued outreach efforts Yunong – we know your words of encouragement meant a lot to the students you met with at Nagoya University!


2016 U.S. Fellows' Follow-on Projects

Rice University 2016 Discover Research Fair
Alumni Presenters: Nickolas Walling and Brianna Garcia

Rice University alumni Nickolas Walling and Brianna Garcia shared information on their summer experience in Japan and the Nakatani RIES Fellowship at the 2016 Discover Research Fair that was held on August 25, 2016.  During this information fair, they were able to speak with more than 30 Rice University undergraduate students who were interested to learn more about the program and what conducting research in Japan was like.  Thank you for sharing your experiences Nickolas and Brianna!


2016 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium 
Alumni Presenters: Haihao Liu, Youssef Tobah, and Chandni Rana 

The weekend of October 22, 2016, Rice University hosted the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Three of our 2016 U.S. Fellows gave oral presentations on their summer research at this event. Prof. Kono got to attend Haihao Liu's (Rice), Youssef Tobah (UT Austin), and Chandni Rana's (U of FL) talks. What a great way to not only share the cutting-edge research these students did while in Japan this summer but also network with other student participants from universities throughout the Gulf Coast too! 


Erica Lin 
Applied Mathematics-Biology & East Asian Studies, Brown University
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019 

In November 2016, Erica Lin hosted a table at Brown University's Study Abroad Fair on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship.  She shared information on her experience in Japan with interested students and encouraged them to consider applying to the program in the future.  Thank you for sharing your experience with fellow student at Brown Erica!

 

 

 


Youssef Tobah 
Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Texas, Austin
Expected Graduation Date: May 2018 

In December 2016, Youssef Tobah held an information session on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship for students in the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin.  He presented on the research he had done in the Otsuji Lab at Tohoku University and shared more information on what living and working in Japan was like with interested students. Thank you for helping spread the word about our program Youssef! 


Sasha Yamada presenting at the IEEE student meeting.

Sasha Yamada
Electrical Engineering, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019 

In November 2016, Sasha Yamada presented on her summer research experience in Japan at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa IEEE student chapter meeting.  During this presentation she highlighted the research she conducted in the Iwasa Lab at the University of Tokyo and also shared what it was like to live and work in Japan.  Through this session, she helped to encourage otherUniversity of Hawaiʻi students to consider applying to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship. Thank you for helping spread the word about our program Sasha! 


2017 JP Fellows' Follow-on Projects
2017 U.S. Fellows' Follow-on Projects

 

Rice University 2017 Discover Research Fair
Alumni Presenters: Savannah Cofer, Jakob Grezsik, Alex Hwang, and Haihao Liu (2016 Fellow)

 

A number of Rice University alumni shared information on their summer experience in Japan and the Nakatani RIES Fellowship at the 2017 Discover Research Fair that was held on August 23, 2017.  During this information fair, they were able to speak with more than 70 Rice University undergraduate students who were interested to learn more about the program and what conducting research in Japan was like.  Thank you for sharing your experiences Savannah, Jakob, Alex, and Haihao! 


William Fukenbusch
University of Rochester, Chemical Engineering and Japanese
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020

"I had a poster presentation today [at the University of Rochester] talking about my research in Japan this summer. A lot of people noticed the research was done in Japan, so I was able to talk a lot about the Nakatani RIES program, as well. I was even able to hand out a few of the flyers on the 2018 program to some interested freshmen and sophomores. Additionally, I spoke to someone who helps chemical engineers out to find internships and research positions. She said that she is compiling a list of potential positions for undergraduates to share with the whole department, and that she would highlight this program to chemical engineering freshmen." 


Kaylene Stocking presenting on her 2017 Nakatani RIES experience at the University of Pittsburgh.

Kaylene Stocking
University of Pittsburgh, Computer Engineering and Bioengineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020

On Monday, October 30, 2017, Kaylene gave a presentation on Nakatani RIES to a room full of sophomore bioengineers! This was the third follow-on mini project she has done at the University of Pittsburgh: the first was presenting very briefly to the freshman engineering seminar, and the second was participating in a panel on national scholarships to go abroad.

Congratulations on your successful outreach Kaylene and thank you for helping spread the word about the Nakatani RIES Fellowship at Pitt! 

 


 

 

Graduate Schools
To date, 3 alumni are now pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in STEM fields.

Graduate Schools in the U.S.

To date, a total of 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow is currently enrolled in or has completed a graduate degree at an institution in the U.S.

Graduate Institutions in the U.S. (1) 

  1. University of California, Los Angeles
    • Hiromi Miwa (2016 JP Fellow): Ph.D., Bioengineering, Commencing Fall 2017 
Graduate Schools in Japan

To date, a total of 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow is currently enrolled in or has completed a graduate degree at an institution in Japan. 

Institutions in Japan (1) 

  1. Waseda University
Other International Graduate Schools

To date, a total of 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow is currently enrolled in or has completed a graduate degree at an international graduate institution (outside of the U.S. or Japan). 

International Graduate Institutions – (1) 

  1. Wagenignen University (Netherlands) 

Other International Experiences
Global engagement remains high among Nakatani RIES Fellows, with 8 alumni pursuing other study, research, or internship opportunities abroad.

1 Other International Experience in the U.S.

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow from Japan has particpiated in another international experience in the U.S.

  1. Toshihiro Takada (2016):  Research Internship at Rice University from May 2017 – May 2018 in the Tezduyar Lab with funding from the Tobitate Scholarship. 
3 Other International Experiences in Japan

To date, 3 Nakatani RIES Fellows from the U.S. have participated in further international experiences in Japan. 

  1. Erica Lin (2016): Summer 2017 Research Internship at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
  2. Nickolas Walling (2016): Summer 2017 Rice in Japan Language Program in Tokyo
  3. Sasha Yamada (2016): Summer 2017 study abroad program at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. 
5 Other International Experiences Worldwide

To date, 5 Nakatani RIES Fellows have participated in other international experiences in locations worldwide. 

  1. Rony Ballouz (2016): Summer 2017 TU Munich's Practical Research Experience Program in Germany 
  2. Daniel Gilmore (2016): 2017 spring semester study abroad program in Spain at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and a six-month internship with HP at their large-format printing site in Barcelona. 
  3. Haihao Liu (2016):
  4. Soya Miyoshi (2016): 2016 – 2017 Tohoku University Study Abroad Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore
  5. Donald Swen (2016): Summer 2017 ISTernships program at the Institute of Technology in Austria

Major Fellowships, Scholarships
Nakatani RIES Fellows have also been highly competitive for other major national/international fellowships and scholarships.

1 Gilman Scholarship (U.S.)

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow has received a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for Undergraduate Study Abroad

  1. Mayssa Gregoire (2016): Summer 2016 Gilman Scholar
1 Goldwater Scholarship (U.S.)

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow has been selected to receive a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

  1. Donald Swen (2016): 2017 Goldwater Scholar
1 DOD SMART Scholarship

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow has been selected to receive a DOD SMART: Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation Scholarship

  1. Brinda Malhotra (2016 U.S. Fellow) 
1 業務スーパージャパンドリーム財団 (JP)

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow has received an overseas scholarship from the 業務スーパージャパンドリーム財団

  1. Soya Miyoshi (2016): Study Abroad Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore. 
1 Tobitate Scholarship (JP)

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellowship has received a Tobitate Scholarship

  1. Tatsuya Tanaka (2016): Tobitate Scholar

 

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