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

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

2016 Japanese Fellows

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

Graduate School: In September, 2017 Toshihiro will begin his graduate students at Wagenigen University in the Netherlands where he will be pursuing an MSc International Land and Water Management. 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!

Benjamin Kaiser
Bethel University, Physics
Expected Graduation: May 2018

Further International Study Experience: During the summer of 2017, Benjamin will return to Tokyo to participate in a full immersion Japanese language program at the KCP International Japanese language school.  Congratulations Benjamin! 頑張ってください !

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

Further International Experience: During the spring 2017 semester, Haihao will be studying abroad in France through the Rice University Exchange Program at the École centrale Paris. Bon Voyage Haihao!

Donald Swen
Willamette University, Physics
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

2017 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Recipient:  In 2017, Donald was one of just 240 sophomore and junior students select to receive a Goldwater Scholarship.  scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. 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 the Scholars are men, 103 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-two Scholars are mathematics majors, 153 are science and related majors, 51 are majoring in engineering, and 14 are computer science majors. Many of the 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. 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 International Research 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 !


Graduate Schools
To date, 2 alumni are now pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in STEM fields.

Graduate Schools in the U.S.

At this time, we have no information on Nakatani RIES Fellow graduate study in the U.S.  This section will be updated in the future with more information as it is submitted by our alumni.  

Graduate Schools in Japan

To date, a total of 1 Nakatani RIES Fellows have pursued graduate study at an institution in Japan. 

Institutions in Japan (1) 

  1. Waseda University
    1. Tatsuya Tanaka (2016): M.S.,  Mechanical Engineering, In Progress
Other Graduate Schools

To date, a total of 1 Nakatani RIES Fellows have pursued graduate study at a university 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 7 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. Benjamin Kaiser (2016): Summer 2017 KCL Japanese Language School Program in Tokyo
  2. Erica Lin (2016): Summer 2017 Research Internship at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
  3. Nickolas Walling (2016): Summer 2017 Rice in Japan Language Program in Tokyo
4 Other International Experiences Worldwide

To date, 4 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. Haihao Liu (2016): Spring 2017 Rice University Tudy Abroad Exchange Program  at École centrale Paris in France
  3. Soya Miyoshi (2016): 2016 – 2017 Tohoku University Study Abroad Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore
  4. 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 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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