Alumni Updates

There is no better testament to the impact and success of the Nakatani RIES Fellowship that the further accomplishments of our alumni. From 2016 – 2018, a total 69 undergraduates, 31 from Japan and 38 from the U.S., have participated in the program.  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. 

Alumni Updates

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

Takuya Kurihana
University of Tskuba, Atmospheric Science 
Bachelor's Degree Awarded: March 2017
Current Position: Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Chicago, Commencing Fall 2018 

Graduate School: In Fall 2018, Takuya will being his Ph.D. studies and research in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Chicago under the supervision of Prof. Ian Foster in the Globus Lab.  In his research group, Takuya will participate in a new project, which targets the interdisciplinary area between Computer Science and Atmospheric Science. He was was selected as a fellow of Heiwa Nakajima Scholarship Foundation which provide funding for Japanese students who will pursue degrees abroad. Congratulations Takuya! We wish you the best of luck with your doctoral studies and research at the University of Chicago! 

Domestic Research Experience: In the summer of 2017, Takuya participated in a research internship at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Sciences (AICS).  This is the most prestigious computational sciences research institute in Japan, and he worked under the supervision of Dr. Takemasa Miyoshi. Takuya participated in research which aims to improve the micro cloud physics processes in the Nonhydrostatic ICosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) by adopting dense meteorological satellite data. Within this project, he proposed a new algorithm which could deal with a massive amount of satellite big data efficiently and speedily within NICAM. Takuya's algorithm was able to increase the utilization ratio of satellite data, a large proportion of which was previously left out to reduce the computational cost and is expected to improve predictability. Congratulations on your successful research experience at RIKEN AICS Takuya! 


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 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! 


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

Video on Impact of Study Abroad Experiences (Click Link to Watch): Check out this great video Daniel made highlighting the impact of his international experiences. "I was recently asked [by Purdue] to create a video that summarizes my experience in Purdue's global engineering program. I had a great time going through these memories, and I thought it would be good to share the final result so others can see them too… I hope all is going well for everybody in the U.S., Japan, France, and Spain! I'm close to the end of the semester now and then I have one more year of classes before I graduate. I'm really grateful to have seen and learned all I did in so many places, and with such great people!" ~ Daniel Gilmore

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
Fall 2017: Transferred to the University of Pittsburgh, Chemistry 
Fall 2015 – Spring 2017: 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 Research Experience: During the summer or 2018, Ben will be participating in the Material Research Science and Engineering Center's REU program at Northwestern University.  He will be working with Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid researching surface energies of 2D materials.  During the summer of 2017, he also participated in NASA summer internship program. 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, B.S. Materials Science & NanoEngineering and Mathematics, May 2018
Current Position: Ph.D. Student, Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Commencing Fall 2018 

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 conducted 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 studied abroad in France through the Rice University Exchange Program at the École centrale Paris. While studying abroad, Haihao will also had the opportunity to conduct research for a project-based class. He worked 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! 


Chandni Rana
University of Florida, Biomedical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Further Experience in Japan (in Japanese):  Click here to read more about Chandni's return to Japan (in Japanese) on the Nakatani Foundation's website! 

Further Experience in Japan: In the summer of 2018, Chandni will return to Japan to participate in the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) program. The BSI was established in 1997 as part of RIKEN, located outside of Tokyo in Wakō, Saitama Prefecture, is an independent research institution supported by the Japanese government. BSI has a mission to produce innovative research and technology leading to scientific discoveries of the brain. In addition, BSI aims to develop domestic and international brain researchers by creating an environment that will integrate various intellectual disciplines and from that convergence find solutions that will ultimately benefit society in the realms of medicine, engineering, business, and education. In striving toward this goal, BSI has become a leading international center for brain research with a reputation for discovery, innovation, training, and globalization of the scientific enterprise. Chandni will be in Japan from June – August 2018 working under Prof. Keiichi Kitajo. Her project involves analyzing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) induced changes to neural activity by applying support vector machine and other machine learning classifiers to EEG data. This relates closely to her current research at the University of Florida where Chandni looks at the effects of electrical stimulation (specifically tACS) on cognitive performance.  She is looking forward to learning more about TMS through the RIKEN BSI this summer! Congratulations Chandni! We look forward to seeing you again in Japan. 頑張ってください !


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

2018 Critical Language Scholarship to Study Abroad in India:  In the summer of 2018, Donald will travel to Jaipur, India to study Hindi through the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program. CLS is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness. The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a program of the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is supported in its implementation by American Councils for International Education.  Congratulations Donald! बधाई हो!

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, B.S., Electrical & Computer Engineering, May 2018 
Current Position: Ph.D. Student, Computer Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Commencing Fall 2018 

Graduate Degree: In the Fall of 2018, Youssef will commence his Ph.D. studies in Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where his research will focus on embedded systems and he plans to join Prof. Kang Shin's Real Time Computing Laboratory. Congratulations Youssef and best of luck with your graduate studies and research! 

Further International Research Experience: In the summer of 2018, Youssef will participate in the Tokyo Institute of Technology's Summer Research Program.  He will work under Dr. Yuko Hara on an embedded systems research project, which is directly related to what I plan to pursue for my PhD. "I am very excited both for this project as well as the opportunity to explore Japan once again and visit old friends." Congratulations Youssef!  We look forward to seeing you again this summer in Japan! 

Further Domestic Research Experience: In the Summer of 2017, Youssef participated in a summer internship program with NASA. He worked 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 2018

Further International Research Experience:  After graduating from Rice University, Nickolas will return to Japan in September 2018 to conduct research at Kyoto University with funding from the Rice University Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship.  This scholarship provides up to $15,000 in funding to allow students to conduct research abroad for up to one year. Nickolas will be conducting research in the Matsuno Lab under the advisement of Dr. Hemma Philamore.  Nickolas' project will focus on further developing the "robot stomach" and to create a soft, bio-inspired marine robot that can essentially eat and autonomously generate its own energy. This robot will draw inspiration from the Portuguese Man of War and the sea salp for its locomotive and feeding mechanisms. This technology will have applications in long-term marine sensing and ocean clean-up efforts. おめでとうございます!

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

Domestic Internship: In the summer of 2018, Sasha will be participating in an antennas internship at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA.  We hope you enjoy California Sasha! 

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 Sasha! 頑張ってください !


Ayaka Hatano
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Applied Chemistry
Expected Graduation: March 2019

Further Experience in the U.S.:  In Spring 2018, Ayaka returned to the U.S. to conduct research in the lab of Prof. Charles Schmuttenmaer at Yale University as a participate in the Nakatani Foundation's Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP).  Click here to read more about Ayaka's experience at Yale (in Japanese).  


Etsuko Ishii
The University of Tokyo, Applied Mathematics
Expected Graduation: March 2019

Other International Experience: From January 29 – April 1, 2018, Etsuko will be an Undergraduate Visiting Internship Students at   the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology through their International Visiting Internship Student Program (IVISP). She will be working in Prof. Pascale Fung's lab in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering to help build a machine that can recognize emotion.   Best of luck with your internship in Hong Kong Etsuko!  


Miki Matsumoto
The University of Tokyo, Applied Biological Chemistry and Biotechnology
Expected Graduation: March 2019

Further Experience in the U.S.:  In Spring 2018, Miki returned to the U.S. to conduct research in the lab of Prof. Soichiro Yamada at the University of California, Davis as a participate in the Nakatani Foundation's Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP).  Click here to read more about Miki's experience at UC Davis (in Japanese).


Ryota Sasaki 
Tohoku University, Electrical, Information and Physics Engineering
Expected Graduation: March 2019

International Scholarship: In June of 2018, Ryota was selected as a recipient of the トビタテ!留学JAPAN! (Tobitate Japan!) Scholarship for his upcoming study abroad program.  This is a public-private initiative that provides funding to  encourage Japanese students to pursue international study and related opportunities. Ryota shared, "What is attractive for me the most is that I would have chance to interact with students from diverse backgrounds." Congratulations Ryota and best of luck as you prepare to study abroad in Sweden! 

Other International Study and Research: In September 2018, Ryota will begin a one-year study abroad exchange program at Uppsala, Sweden through the Tohoku University Overseas Study Program.  While in Sweden, he will study biology and bioengineering.  He hopes this experience will help prepare him for future graduate study and research.  Following the completion of his program in Sweden, Ryota will travel to France to conduct biomedical research at the University of Paris-Est in the lab of Prof. Vu Hieu Nguyen, an active collaborator of his lab at Tohoku University. Congratulations Ryota!  We hope you enjoy your study and research experiences in Europe! 

Other International Conference: From November 24th – 27th, 2017, Ryota participated in the International Contest of innovAtioN (iCAN) Global Conference 2017 in Beijing, China where his team received the 3rd Place Award for the device they designed! iCAN intends to create new applications for nano-micro technologies and experts from industry and academia serve as judges for the student-team designed devices based on their innovation, completeness, teamwork, and related criteria.  Ryota's team from Tohoku University worked together to build a rehabilitation Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy, to be used to strengthen the non-dominant hand of patients with hemiplegia.  Through this device, patients are able to participate in a fun and engaging rehabilitation regimen. Since most rehabilitation regimens are boring, simple, or to difficulty, the introduction of a game-based regimen through the use of the Kendama can increase patient persistence and results over the long-term. By attaching two sensors to test the acceleration and a gyro sensor to the Kendama, his team evaluated how patients use their hands and what their ability is when using their non-dominant hand. Moreover, his team's project provided both patients and doctors a radar chart with a graphical user interface (GUI) where they can get immediate results and information on the patient's progress. Ryota shared, "It was a meaningful time for me to gain experience introducing our project in a global contest and interacting with students from diverse countries." Congratulations to you and your team Ryota on your participation in iCAN! 


Nina Yoshitake 
University of Tokyo, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Expected Graduation: March 2019

Further Experience in the U.S.:  In Spring 2018, Nina returned to the U.S. to conduct research in the lab of Prof. Shuichi Takayama at Georgia Institute of Technology as a participate in the Nakatani Foundation's Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP).  Click here to read more about Nina's experience at Georgia Tech (in Japanese).  


2017 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium 
Alumni Presenters: Savannah Cofer, William Fukenbusch, Katelyn Miyasaki, Emily Nishiwaki, Shivani Shukla, Kaylene Stocking, Joshua Yang

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, Rice University hosted the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Seven of our 2017 U.S. Fellows were invited to return to Rice give oral presentations on their summer research at this event. Prof. Kono got to attend most of the student's talks and met up with everyone for dinner.  Two other Rice alumni, Jakob Gresik and Alex Hwang, also joined for dinner meaning that nine (!) of our alumni were back together again in Houston. 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! Congratulations to all of our 2017 GCURS presenters: 

Bioengineering Division

  • Kaylene Stocking, University of Pittsburgh
    • Outstanding Presenter Award in the Bioengineering Division 

Chemistry Division 

  • Emily Nishiwaki, Cornell University

Physics Division

  • Katelyn Miyasaki, Washington University in St. Louis

Materials Science & NanoEngineering

  • Savannah Cofer, Rice University
  • William Fukenbusch, University of Rochester 
  • Shivani Shukla, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Joshua Yang, University of Texas, Austin
    • Best Presentation Award for MSNE Division

Aaron Coe (formerly Ludvigsen)
Bethel University, Physics and Computer Science; Minor in Mathematics
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019 

Summer 2018 Domestic Research Experience:  Aaron has been accepted into the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) REU Program this summer. He will be working with Prof. Dan Ralph in the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics on a project titled Spintronics and Magnetic Manipulation. This project will focus on finding the most efficient way to reorient the magnetic moment direction in nanoscale magnetic devices. Prof. Ralph’s group works with utilizing spin-polarized electrical currents and spin-orbit interactions. Aaron will work to assist in the fabrication of devices in which atomic-layer materials are integrated with ultra-thin magnetic layers. Then, using electrical measurements, optical experiments, and computer modeling he will work to better understand current-induced torques and magnetic switching. The program runs from June 4th to August 10th, 2018.  Congratulations Aaron and best of luck with your research at Cornell! 


Savannah Cofer
Rice University, Computational & Applied Mathematics, and Japanese
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020

Other Domestic Research: In the summer of 2018, Savannah will participate in the California Institute of Technology's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).  She will be conducting research with Dr. Adrian Stoica at the Jet Propulsion Lab where her project will focus on creating a telescoping multi-legged Giacometti robot for planetary exploration. You can imagine this as a tall, spindly daddy-long-legs spider that can navigate large obstacles but have a compact stowed size. Congratulations Savannah!  We hope you enjoy your summer research at JPL! 

Savanah Cofer Profiled on Rice School of Engineering Website: The Rice University George R. Brown School of Engineering profiled 2017 Nakatani RIES U.S. Fellow Savannah Cofer on their website.    She said of her experience in Japan, “Nakatani was my first experience doing nanoengineering research abroad and I hope to continue to pursue interdisciplinary research in the future.” Congratulations on all you have accomplished already Savannah – we look forward to seeing where your research career will take you in the future! 

2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Recipient:  In 2018, Savannah was one of just 211 sophomore and junior students (and one of three Rice University students) selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a application pool of 1,288 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from over 2,000 universities nationwide .Of those reporting, 110 of the Scholars are men, 99 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-nine Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 142 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 40 are majoring in engineering. 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 Savannah on this highly prestigious award!

Click here to read an article profiling the three 2018 Goldwater Recipients from Rice that highlights how their research experience in Japan impacted their research interests and future goals.  


Jakob (Yakub) Grzesik
Rice University, Electrical Engineering and Mathmatics
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020 

2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Recipient:  In 2018, Jakob was one of just 211 sophomore and junior students (and one of three Rice University students) selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a application pool of 1,288 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from over 2,000 universities nationwide .Of those reporting, 110 of the Scholars are men, 99 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-nine Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 142 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 40 are majoring in engineering. 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 Jakob on this highly prestigious award! 

Click here to read an article profiling the three 2018 Goldwater Recipients from Rice that highlights how their research experience in Japan impacted their research interests and future goals.  

Summer 2018 Domestic Research: In the summer of 2018, Jakob will be participating in the Columbia University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.  


Alex Hwang 
Rice University, Physics and Electrical & Computer Engineering 
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Recipient:  In 2018, Alex was one of just 211 sophomore and junior students (and one of three Rice University students) selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a application pool of 1,288 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from over 2,000 universities nationwide .Of those reporting, 110 of the Scholars are men, 99 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-nine Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 142 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 40 are majoring in engineering. 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 Alex on this highly prestigious award! 

Click here to read an article profiling the three 2018 Goldwater Recipients from Rice that highlights how their research experience in Japan impacted their research interests and future goals.  

Summer 2018 Domestic Research: Alex will travel to the University of California, Berkeley for a research internship through the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  Alex will be working in Prof. Ming Wu's lab where his research will focus on the design of optical antenna nanoLEDs.  Congratulations Alex!  We wish you the best of luck with your research this summer! 

Spring 2018 Academic Conference: Alex will be giving an oral presentation at the 2018 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in Phoenix, AZ this April.   This presentation will focus on "Passive PT-Symmetry in Semiconductor-Metal Hybrid Nanoantenna Dimers" and is based off of the research he has been doing in Prof. Gururaj Naik's lab in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Rice University.  


Katelyn Miysaki
Current University:Washington University in St. Louis
Field of Study: Biomedical Engineering and Minor in Design
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention:  In 2018, Katelyn was one of just 281 students selected for an Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship out of an application pool of 1,288 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from over 2,000 universities nationwide. Congratulations Katelyn on this highly prestigious honor!  

Further International Research Experience:  In the summer of 2018, Katelyn will travel to Germany to do research through UROP International at RWTH Aachen. She'll be working on developing a mathematical model for hepatic radiofrequency ablation to help less-experienced clinicians be able to use this technique and to improve predictions of treatment outcomes. Katelyn shared, "I'm very excited about this opportunity to continue developing my international communication skills and to explore the world, and I feel much better prepared for this program thanks to my experience with Nakatani last summer. Thank you so much, I don't think I would have had this opportunity without Nakatani." Congratulations Katelyn and best of luck with your summer research in Germany!  


Emily Nishiwaki
Current University: Cornell University, Chemistry 
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020
Prior University: Case Western Reserve University, Materials Science & Engineering and Japanese 

Further Experience in Japan (in Japanese): Click here to read more about Emily's return to Japan (in Japanese) on the Nakatani Foundation's website.  

Further Experience in Japan: In the summer of 2018, Emily will return to Japan to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program at Kyoto University where she will be conducting research in Prof. Sagawa's Quantum Energy Processes Lab in Department of Fundamental Energy Science. Congratulations Emily!  We look forward to seeing you in Japan again this summer! 

Fall 2017: Emily transferred to Cornell University to pursue a B.A. in Chemistry.  Best of luck at your new university Emily! 


Shivani Shukla
Current University:Carnegie Mellon University, Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020

Summer 2018 International Research Experience: In the summer of 2018, Shivani will travel to Israel to conduct research in Haifa at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her project will focus on artificial cells, in Prof. Avi Schroeder's Lab for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technologies.  This summer project is funded by the CMU International Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Carnegie Institute of Technology Travel Grant, and the Tartans Abroad Scholarship. You can follow-along with Shiavani's experience doing research in Israel at her blog, which can be found here. Congratulations Shivani! 


Kaylene Stocking
University of Pittsburgh, Computer Engineering and Bioengineering 
Expected Graduation: May 2019 

2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention:  In 2018, Kaylene was one of just 281 students selected for an Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship out of an application pool of 1,288 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students from over 2,000 universities nationwide. Congratulations Kaylene on this highly prestigious honor!

Summer 2018 Domestic Research Experience: In the summer of 2018, Kaylene will be  I will be doing an internship at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute. She will also be working on finishing an ongoing project to compete in the International Robotic Sailing Competition.  Best of luck with your summer internship Kaylene! 


Joshua Yang
University of Texas, Austin, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mathematics
Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Summer 2018 Domestic Research:  In the summer of 2018, Joshua will be participating in the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and will be co-mentored by Professor Oskar Painter and Dr. Matthew Hunt of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute.  He will be working in the KNI cleanroom on fabrication and testing of novel superconducting quantum circuit components with application to quantum information processing.  This is an area that he has been super interested in for a while now.  Congratulations Joshua and best of luck with your summer research at Cal Tech! 


 

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!

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!


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! 


Tomo Kinoshita (Medicine) and Tomoyuki Sato (Mechanical Engineering & Aerospace) 
Nagoya University 

In December 2017, Tomo Kinoshita and Tomoyuki Sato presented on their experience in the U.S. as 2017 Nakatani RIES Japanese Fellows in a session hosted by the International Exchange Center at Nagoya University. They presented on their cultural and research experience in the U.S. and the impact that participation in the program has had on their future academic and career goals. They also encouraged Nagoya University students to apply to the 2018 Nakatani RIES Fellowship for Japanese students. Thank you for your outreach efforts and sharing information on the program with students at your university Tomo and Tomoyuki!


 

2017 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium 
Alumni Presenters: Savannah Cofer, William Fukenbusch, Katelyn Miyasaki, Emily Nishiwaki, Shivani Shukla, Kaylene Stocking, Joshua Yang

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, Rice University hosted the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Seven of our 2017 U.S. Fellows were invited to return to Rice give oral presentations on their summer research at this event. Prof. Kono got to attend most of the student's talks and met up with everyone for dinner.  Two other Rice alumni, Jakob Gresik and Alex Hwang, also joined for dinner meaning that nine (!) of our alumni were back together again in Houston. 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! Congratulations to all of our 2017 GCURS presenters: 

Bioengineering Division

  • Kaylene Stocking, University of Pittsburgh

Chemistry Division 

  • Emily Nishiwaki, Cornell University

Physics Division

  • Katelyn Miyasaki, Washington University in St. Louis

Materials Science & NanoEngineering

  • Savannah Cofer, Rice University
  • William Fukenbusch, University of Rochester 
  • Shivani Shukla, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Joshua Yang, University of Texas, Austin

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." 


Aaron Coe
Bethel University, Physics & Computer Science with a Minor in Mathematics
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Aaron had the opportunity to speak at a Society of Physics Meeting (SPS) at Bethel University.  At these weekly meetings, students gather to hear about past and current peer research as well as research by faculty and guest speakers.  On September 12, 2017, Aaron was the featured speaker and presented on the Nakatani RIES Fellowship and my research in Osaka. In his presentation, Aaron described the program’s mission to provide students with both a high technology research internship opportunity as well as a cultural exchange and engagement with Japanese students.  He spoke about his experience traveling in Japan and meeting people, including eating the dangerous pufferfish, and described accidental Gaijin Smash moments.  These anecdotes were warmly received and he answered many questions about hi time in Japan.  In addition to his cultural experience, Aaron gave an introductory talk on the research project he conducted in the Tonouchi Lab at Osaka University and answered technical questions from the physics faculty and students attending. He also shared information on the 2018 Nakatani RIES Fellowship and encouraged interested applicants to speak with him or Ben Kaiser, an alumnus of the 2016 Nakatani RIES Fellowship who is also a student at Bethel.  Thanks for all you've done to share information on your Nakatani RIES experience with students at Bethel Aaron! 


Katelyn Miyasaki
Washington University in St. Louis, Biomedical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation: May 2019 

In November, Katelyn participated in Wash U's Hackathon where she gave a talk on her international research experience through Nakatani RIES, other programs students can apply to and why cross-cultural communication is important. Following her talk, she also invited a professor to give a guest seminar on intercultural communication skills.  This experience really helped Katelyn highlight the importance of not only the technical research skills that students learn through programs like Nakatani RIES but also the important role communication plays in international research collaborations.  Great job Katelyn! 

But, she wasn't done yet!  Katelyn also spoke at an Engineering Study Abroad information session and presented on her summer research at WashU's Undergraduate Research Symposium! A number of freshman and sophomore students attended the research symposium and were curious about her experience in Japan so she got to not only talk about her research but encourage them to apply to Nakatani RIES too! Thanks for all  you've done to promote the program at Washington University in St. Louis Katelyn! 


Emily Nishiwaki
Cornell University, Materials Science & Engineering & Japanese
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020

 

In the Fall of 2017, Emily transferred from Case Western Reserve University to Cornell University where she is pursuing a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering.  For her follow-on project, she will be giving a short powerpoint presentation on her Nakatani RIES experience in front of two sections of a beginner Japanese class at Cornell (~80 students in total)! Thank you for helping us spread the word about Nakatani RIES at your new university Emily! 


Trevor Shimokusu
University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, Mechanical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020 

For Trevor's Follow-on Project, he gave a I presented at an IEEE: Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers meeting at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa November 27, 2017.  About 50 students attended this session where Trevor gave an overview of what the Nakatani RIES Fellowship Program is, explained how to apply, and also shared some of the experiences he gained abroad and what he learned about culture and research opportunities in Japan.  Thank you for helping us spread the word about Nakatani RIES at UH Mānoa Trevor! 


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! 


Hosting a Nakatani RIES information session ~ Joshua Yang

Joshua Yang 
University of Texas, Austin, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mathematics 
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

For my follow-up project, I hosted an information session on the Nakatani RIES program to freshmen engineering students at the University of Texas at Austin. I was surprised at how long I was able to talk about the program (around an hour and I didn’t even cover everything!) and enjoyed sharing my wonderful experience with other fellow students. I spoke to a smaller group (in comparison to other 2017 fellows) but had a more interactive session, and it was great seeing everyone’s interest. I also coordinated with the engineering study abroad advisor to send out an informational email about the program and posted on our UT ECE Facebook page as a quick plug for interested freshmen and sophomores.

Lastly, I presented at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium, was wowed by how interested many of the other undergraduates were in my research, and got to hang out and meet up again with eight other US Fellows (a very happy reunion indeed).


 

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.

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

Special Recognition: This paper was recognized by the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter to be spotlighted as one of their 2017 Highlights. This collection includes outstanding articles published in the journal during 2017. These articles were selected on the basis of a range of criteria including referee endorsements, presentation of outstanding research and popularity with our online readership. Congratulations to all of the authors on this very prestigious recognition! 


Graduate Schools

To date, 6 alumni or 8.6% are currently pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in STEM fields.

Graduate Institutions in the U.S. – Total of 4 Different Institutions 

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1)
  2. University of California, Los Angeles (1)
  3. University of Chicago (1) 
  4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1)

A large number of alumni from the NanoJapan: IREU Program, the predecessor to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship, have also received or are pursuing Master's or Doctoral degrees in STEM fields at institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  To see where NanoJapan: IREU alumni have or are studying click here

Institutions in Japan (1) 

  1. Waseda University (1)

A large number of alumni from the NanoJapan: IREU Program, the predecessor to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship, have also received or are pursuing Master's or Doctoral degrees in STEM fields at institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  To see where NanoJapan: IREU alumni have or are studying click here

International Graduate Institutions – (1) 

  1. Wagenignen University (Netherlands) 

A large number of alumni from the NanoJapan: IREU Program, the predecessor to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship, have also received or are pursuing Master's or Doctoral degrees in STEM fields at institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  To see where NanoJapan: IREU alumni have or are studying click here

Other International Experiences

Global engagement remains high among Nakatani RIES Fellows, with 15 alumni  or 21.7% pursuing other study, research, or internship opportunities abroad.

To date, 4 Nakatani RIES Fellows from Japan have participated in another international experience in the U.S.

  1. Ayaka Hatano (2017)Nakatani Foundation Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP) in the Schmuttenmaer Lab at Yale University.  
  2. Miki Matsumoto (2017): Nakatani Foundation Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP) in the Yamada Lab at UC Davis
  3. Nina Yoshitake (2017): Nakatani Foundation Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP) in the Takayama Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. 
  4. Toshihiro Takada (2016):  Research Internship at Rice University from May 2017 – May 2018 in the Tezduyar Lab with funding from the Tobitate Scholarship. 

To date, 6 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. Emily Nishiwaki (2017): Summer 2018 Amgen Scholars Program at the University of Kyoto 
  3. Chandni Rana (2016): Summer 2018 RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) Program.
  4. Youssef Tobah (2016): Summer 2018 Tokyo Tech Summer Research Program
  5. Nickolas Walling (2016):
    1. Academic Year 2018 – 2019: Rice University Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship to conduct research in the Matsuno Lab at Kyoto University 
    2. Summer 2017 Rice in Japan Language Program in Tokyo
  6. Sasha Yamada (2016): Summer 2017 study abroad program at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. 

To date, 9 Nakatani RIES Fellows have participated in other international experiences in locations worldwide. 

  1. Shivani Shukla (2017):  Summer 2018 CMU International SURF Fellowship at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  2. Katelyn Miyasaki (2017): Summer 2018 UROP International at RWTH Aachen program in Germany.
  3. Etsuko Ishii (2017): January – April 2018: International Visiting Internship Student Program at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology working in Prof. Pasacale Fung's Lab
  4. Ryota Sasaki (2017):
  5. Soya Miyoshi (2016): 2016 – 2017 Tohoku University Study Abroad Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore
  6. Donald Swen (2016):  
  7. Rony Ballouz (2016): Summer 2017 TU Munich's Practical Research Experience Program in Germany 
  8. 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. 
  9. Haihao Liu (2016):

Major Fellowships, Scholarships

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

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

To date, 4 Nakatani RIES U.S. Fellows have been selected as recipients of a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and an additional 2 have been selected for Honorable Mentions.

Goldwater Scholars

  1. Savannah Cofer (2017): 2018 Goldwater Scholar
  2. Jakob (Yakub) Grzesik (2017): 2018 Goldwater Scholar
  3. Alex Hwang (2017): 2018 Goldwater Scholar 
  4. Donald Swen (2016): 2017 Goldwater Scholar

Honorable Mentions

  1. Katelyn Miyasaki (2017): 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mention
  2. Kaylene Stocking (2017): 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mention 

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) 

To date, 1 Nakatani RIES Fellow has been awarded the Heiwa Nakajima Scholarship for study abroad: 

Heiwa Nakajima Scholars

  1. 2018 Scholarship: Takuya Kurihana (2016 JP Fellow) 

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. 

To date, two Nakatani RIES Japanese Fellows have received a トビタテ!留学JAPAN! scholarship. For more information in English see, About Tobitate: Leap for Tomorrow

  1. Ryota Sasaki (2018) 
  2. Tatsuya Tanaka (2016)

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply